Inquest into man’s fatal brain haemorrhage criticised by partner

Man attended Tipperary hospital three times in three weeks complaining of headaches

Mr Morrissey  died at Cork University Hospital  after being transferred there from South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel. File photograph:  Rui Vieira/PA

Mr Morrissey died at Cork University Hospital after being transferred there from South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel. File photograph: Rui Vieira/PA

 

A mother of five has expressed her disappointment at the outcome of an inquest into the death of her partner who died of a brain haemorrhage despite attending a hospital three times in three weeks complaining of headaches only to be told that he had a migraine before being sent home.

Gwen Bradley said she had no faith in the Irish hospital system as she didn’t believe the inquest at Cork City Coroner’s Court into the death of her partner Evan Morrissey (28) allowed her solicitor, Cian O’Carroll to get satisfactory answers about his treatment at South Tipperary General Hospital.

“The inquest hasn’t helped at all – if anything it feels like we’re still within the hospital – they are still not willing to answer questions. How are they going to fix something if they are not willing to answer questions, they are not even allowing questions be asked,” she said after the inquest.

Mr Morrissey from Fr Meehan Crescent, New Inn, Co Tipperary died at Cork University Hospital on March 22nd 2014 from a brain haemorrhage after being transferred there from South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel.

Ms Bradley told the inquest that Mr Morrissey began to complain of a very severe headache and nausea on March 2nd, 2014 and he was taken by ambulance to South Tipperary General but was diagnosed the following morning with migraine.

Solicitor Mr O’Carroll asked Dr Alezandru Traila of STGH if the combination of a violent headache, vomiting and photophobia – sensitivity to light – should have raised a red flag for a possible brain haemorrhage and he agreed it did but after an examination he had diagnosed a migraine.

Improved somewhat

“At the end of my examination, putting everything together, the patient was looking well and all symptoms were resolved, and I decided it was not an emergency at this time, and he was advised to report to the emergency department again if symptoms worsened,” he said.

The inquest heard that Mr Morrissey attended again on March 6th and underwent a CT brain scan on March 7th which showed no evidence of a brain haemorrhage. He was again discharged only to return on March 10th when he complained of further terrible headaches.

He was admitted and by March 11th he had improved somewhat and celebrated his 28th birthday in hospital before he was again discharged on March 13th. Consultant Dr Ali Khair said there were no “sinister signs” during his 40 hours under his care to suggest he needed further testing.

The inquest heard from consultant radiologist, Dr John Hynes, that a rescheduled CT scan on the evening of March 18th revealed that Mr Morrissey had suffered subarachnoid haemorrhage in the brain which he believed was at most two days old.

The inquest heard Mr Morrissey was transferred on the night of March 18th to CUH to be placed under the care of the neurosurgery team but because he was scoring full marks on tests to assess his consciousness, he was not deemed an emergency case and was scheduled for surgery the next day.

However he suffered a cardiac arrest at around 1.30am on March 19th and underwent emergency surgery to evacuate a haematoma from his brain and clip an aneurysm on a cerebral artery but despite the success of the procedure, he died three days later on March 22nd.

Mr O’Carroll withdrew from the inquest on his client’s instruction when Coroner, Philip Comyn, ruled he would not allow him to ask CUH Consultant Neurologist George Karr about the treatment Mr Morrissey received at South Tipperary General during each of his presentations there.

The jury returned a narrative verdict detailing how Mr Morrissey died at CUH following his transfer there from South Tipperary General.

Mr Comyn expressed his sympathies to Ms Bradley and her five children on their loss and praised their generosity in donating his organs for transplant.