THE Kildare County Coroner has made a number of recommendations to health bodies about emergency department policies and procedures.
Dr. Denis Cusack was giving his verdict after thirteen hours of evidence into the death of 89 year old Kevin Langley, a retired fitter from Kildangan, who died at Naas General Hospital on 13 August 2012.
At the inquest, which opened on 11 March, last Mr. Langley’s family raised numerous questions about medical activity at St. Vincent’s, Athy, Naas Hospital and K Doc during the nine days before his death.
These included questions about his falling at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Athy and the diagnosis of his condition and the time it took - over five hours - for him to be seen by a doctor at Naas General Hospital.
Recording a narrative verdict on the case, Dr Cusack made a number of recommendations, including those on “some very, very important issues,” which he would forward to the hospital managements, the HSE, HIQA and the National Emergency Medical Programme.
He commended St. Vincent’s for its formal falls policy and noted its continuing work in relation to the number of falls among patients.
He said the hospital should review its policy on ongoing assessment where patients have been referred back from head injury checks.
Regarding the Naas Emergency Department, he said it and others should review emergency policies and the “reality” of reaching targets in the so called Manchester Emergency Triage System (METS), which prioritises the most critical cases at the emergency department alongside the availability of staff to meet these targets.
He also recommended that Naas should review its policies on head injury discharges.