Limerick Coroners Court hears of teenager's tragic death at home

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Email:

fintan.walsh@limerickleader.ie

Limerick Coroners Court hears of teenager's tragic death at home

A CORONER has warned of the consequences of “excessive” drinking at the inquest of a teenager who tragically died at his home after a house party in County Limerick.

The 18-year-old died at his home in Limerick city after his father collected him from a chipper at around midnight on a date last September.

In medical evidence read at Limerick Coroners Court this Tuesday morning, there was a “high toxic level” of alcohol in his system.

His father said in his deposition that his son had been attending a house party in County Limerick.

His father said that he stayed up until 4am and had placed his son in the recovery position in the living room.

He said he later performed CPR on the 18-year-old when he noticed his snoring had stopped and “his colour had changed”.

The secondary school student was pronounced dead a short time later.

Dr Gabor Laskai, pathologist at University Hospital Limerick, said a post-mortem was carried out on September 24, and that there were two main findings.

He said the toxicology report found that there was a “high toxic level” of alcohol in his system, and that the cause of death was gastric content aspiration.

The father asked Dr Laskai what the cause of death meant, to which he replied that contents had been inhaled into the airways, bronchi and lungs.

“Whatever is left in your mouth, you can inhale it into your airways,” Dr Laskai said.

“It can go down the wrong way?” asked coroner John McNamara. Dr Laskai then agreed.

A member of the family asked the pathologist if it would have made a difference if the teen was immediately brought to hospital.

“It’s not necessarily a medical question, but accidents happen,” Dr Laskai replied.

Mr McNamara said that there is “no guarantee that the outcome would have been different.

“You did the right thing and brought him home. I am not sure if you could have done anything different.”

The coroner recorded a verdict of misadventure, and that the cause of death was gastric content aspiration under severe alcohol intoxication.

“He didn’t intend this outcome. He consumed a lot of alcohol that night, as a lot of kids do on weekends,” adding that he “had his whole life ahead of him”.

Before concluding the inquest, he said there was a lesson out there for young people. 

“If you drink excessively, you can have consequences.”

Mr McNamara and Insp Liz Kennedy expressed their condolences to the family of the young teen.