Hospital accepts ‘full responsibility’ into death of mam Tracy

By Aideen O'Flaherty

THE family of a woman who died of a brain aneurism after presenting at Tallaght Hospital twice and not been given a brain scan, received an apology from the hospital last month as they accepted “full responsibility” for the events that led to her tragic death.

Rory McDermott, 43, from Kilnamanagh, told The Echo that he now wants to speak out about his wife Tracy’s story to prevent anyone else going through what his family has gone through.

Tracy McDermott 2

Mr McDermott explained that in December 2015, his wife Tracy complained of a sudden onset of blurred vision, a severe headache, vomiting and numbness in her limbs.

The mother-of-two, who was 43-years-old at the time of her death and had worked as a forklift driver for Henkel, was then transported to Tallaght Hospital by ambulance where staff carried out tests for meningitis and administered a drip, before deciding that they believed Tracy’s symptoms were being caused by a migraine and she should be brought home.

Mr McDermott told The Echo: “Tracy wasn’t coherent at this stage. Then she fell asleep and the hospital staff tried to wake her but they couldn’t.

“I said to them that she needed to get a scan, that she doesn’t get migraines or headaches, but they didn’t give her a scan.”

Mr McDermott, who works as a delivery driver for Zeus Packaging, then took Tracy home that day on Friday, December 11, 2015, where her symptoms slightly lessened over the weekend but she was still struggling with headaches, and Tracy spent most of the weekend in bed.

During the weekend it transpired that Tracy had no recollection of her visit to Tallaght Hospital that Friday, and on Monday she got in touch with her GP to get a referral for a brain scan as she was still struggling with constant pain and sore limbs.

After she received the referral she returned to Tallaght Hospital that Thursday, December 17, where she once again did not receive a brain scan, and was informed that she could go home as her symptoms were the result of a viral infection that would pass over the weekend – Tracy died of a brain aneurism the following night.

Mr McDermott, who lives with his children Zoe (13) and Scott (23), got in touch with the hospital’s patient advocacy service which led to the hospital undertaking an internal investigation into Tracy’s treatment.

Mr McDermott brought High Court action against Tallaght Hospital on behalf of his late wife, which resulted in the hospital issuing an apology to the McDermott family in the Four Courts last month, as part of the case’s settlement.

Mr McDermott told The Echo: “When I started this it was all about getting that apology, an acknowledgement of what Tracy had gone through.

“Hearing them apologise was bittersweet, because Tracy should still be here.

“I’m not a vindictive man, I just want people to learn from their mistakes and to prevent this from happening to anyone else.

“I just hope that this makes people aware that when they go into hospital, if they’re not happy they should ask questions.”

Describing what his late wife was like, Mr McDermott said: “She lit up a room when she walked into it – she was full of life. In a statement read out in court on behalf of AMNCH Tallaght Hospital, the hospital stated that they would like to “apologise for the events that led to Tracy’s death and resulting distress.

“The hospital accepts full responsibility for the events that led to Ms McDermott’s unfortunate and tragic death.”

The hospital also expressed their “sincere condolences and sympathies” to the McDermott family.

A spokesperson for Tallaght Hospital told The Echo: “A senior clinical manager met directly with Mr McDermott in the intervening period since Tracy's death.

“An in-depth review has been carried out into the care afforded to Mrs McDermott on the occasion of her presentations to the hospital.

“The hospital has informed Mr McDermott of the additional safeguards that have been introduced in several areas of ED operations including triage and discharge policy as well as the learnings from the review carried out.”

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