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27th Nov 2014

Man Classed As ‘Urgent Case’ Died After Lying On Trolley For Four Hours At Limerick A&E

The 33-year-old was not seen by a doctor for several hours.


A 33-year-old man died on a trolley at University Hospital Limerick after lying there for four hours without seeing a doctor, despite being recognised as an “urgent case” on his arrival at the hospital.

An inquest into the death of Darragh Curley heard that he arrived at the A&E department of the hospital at 12.52am on July 8th 2013 after taking an overdose of tablets and was seen by a nurse within an hour.

The nurse deemed Darragh to be a “urgent case” but while such patients would usually be put into special cubicles and seen by a doctor within ten minutes, all four beds were occupied and he was instead placed on a trolley.

According to The Examiner, a nurse returned to Mr Curley at 2.30am to place him on a drip and take bloods but a doctor did not assess the Limerick man until he was found unresponsive on a trolley at 4.30am. He was pronounced dead at 4.42am.

A consultant told the inquest that Darragh’s life may have been saved if the proper facilities had been available and speaking on behalf of Mr Curley’s family, solicitor Catriona Carmody said they were devastated but now had some answers as to how Darragh died.

“They previously sought an adjournment of the inquest when they weren’t satisfied with the answers they were getting in relation to what happened Darragh. They are grateful to the coroner for directing that statements be given by hospital personnel. They (now) have a much clearer, much sadder, picture of what happened, and what might have been.”