Son of man who died after leaving hospital on January night says call was ‘beyond crazy’

Cormac Rowland had visited his father, Patrick, just half an hour before finding out he had left his ward bed in Castlebar

Patrick Rowland, whose body was found on January 19th 2023, was a staunch community person and avid supporter of his local GAA club and the Mayo football team.

A man has described a phone call from his father telling him he was outside the hospital and wanted to be brought home as “incredible” and “beyond crazy”.

Schoolteacher Cormac Rowland had visited his father in his hospital bed just 30 minutes earlier when he received the call from his 69-year-old father at 1.44am on January 17th, 2023, an inquest into Patrick’s death heard on Tuesday.

The inquest is examining the circumstances that led to the death of Patrick Rowland, a retired procurement manager who had been admitted via ambulance to Mayo University Hospital, Castlebar in the early hours of January 15th, 2023. He was diagnosed as suffering from pneumonia and was also treated for sepsis.

Mr Rowland said that half an hour earlier, he had adjusted the oxygen on his father’s mask and bade him “goodnight”, happy that a bed had at last been found for him in a ward, following days spent on a trolley.


“For the first time in 43 hours I felt he was in a safe place,” Cormac Rowland told the inquest hearing at Swinford Courthouse conducted by the Coroner for the District of Mayo, Patrick O’Connor.

“When I left the ward I felt more settled than I had been for 43 hours previously and told my wife, Marcella, so when I got home.”

After receiving the phone call, Cormac Rowland rushed from his home to Castlebar to pick up his father at the TF Royal Hotel, but when he arrived outside the hotel there was no sign of him. A search was launched involving gardaí, coastguard, civilians, a search and rescue helicopter and numerous members of Mr Rowland’s extended family.

On January 19th, 2023, Mr Rowland’s body was recovered from the Castlebar River some miles downstream of where it is believed he entered the water.

Patrick Rowland lived at Lahardane, Ballina. He was a staunch community person and avid supporter of his local GAA club and the Mayo football team.

His son, Cormac, told Roger Murray, barrister for the Rowland family, his father had never shown any indication of wanting to self-harm. He described his father as a man of honesty and integrity who had risen to the top in his career as a procurement manager with a locally based international company.

Garda Padraig O’Connor said the search for Mr Rowland became focused on the river bank at the rear of the County Cleaners in Market Square following the discovery of a slipper there belonging to the deceased.

CCTV footage examined by Garda O’Connor showed him at various locations including Main Street and Market Square.

Garda O’Connor said there was a large drop of about 20-25ft into the river where the slipper was found.

The hearing continues.