*University Hospital Limerick.

AN INQUIRY has commenced following the death of a sixteen year old girl at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) three weeks ago.

A “preliminary assessment” was carried out into the death of the teenage girl at UHL, hours after she was taken to the region’s main hospital. On the day she died, a total of 113 patients were on trolleys at UHL.

Breathing difficulties were the complaint of the girl when she was admitted on Monday January 29th accompanied by a family member. Earlier in January she had been admitted to UHL with a severe chest infection and she was confined to hospital for two weeks. It is understood she had an underlying condition.

She was initially admitted to a resuscitation area but was later transferred out of it after suffering distress. When her condition deteriorated, she was returned to the resuscitation area where she later died.

Family of the young girl are due to receive the results of her post-mortem which will inform
any decision on whether to formally investigate the death,

Officials who are examining the care given to the girl during her stay at the hospital plan to talk to staff who treated her, some of whom were on leave last week.

In a statement, UL Hospitals Group offered its “sincere condolences” to the family on “their devastating loss”. The spokesperson outlined, “We can confirm that a preliminary assessment has been carried out in line with the HSE Incident Management Framework and the findings from this assessment will be shared with the family pending the results of a post-mortem examination”.

Under the HSE Incident Management Framework, all major incidents are initially put through a preliminary assessment which will then assist in classifying the seriousness of each incident.

This is the second tragedy under review at UHL following the death of Shannon teenager Aoife Johnston in December 2022. The sixteen year old had to endure a twelve-hour wait on a trolley in an overcrowded emergency department at UHL.

When a patient suffers harm it is regarded as a Category 1 incident and will be subject to a review.

In the case of Aoife Johnston, a review into her death at UHL has led to an independent judge-led investigation. Aoife died from sepsis complications of bacterial meningitis after waiting 12 hours in a severely overcrowded emergency department on December 19, 2022.

An HSE internal review found overcrowding in the hospital was “endemic”. The “boarding” of patients who are deemed ill enough to be admitted to a ward in the emergency department “is a planned part of patient flow” in UHL, the review said.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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