Family of woman (82) who died after trolley fall settle case

Case of Letitia Lawlor, who died after fall at St Vincent’s, settled with €51,000 payment

Letitia Lawlor died days after she fell off a trolley at St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Letitia Lawlor died days after she fell off a trolley at St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin. Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

 
High Court

Letitia Lawlor (82) died seven days after she struck her head after falling from the trolley in the hospital’s emergency department. It was alleged the fall was not witnessed.

Doireann O’Mahony BL, for the family, said Mrs Lawlor, when transferred to the hospital having fallen at her nursing home, was known to be at risk of falls.

Mrs Lawlor was admitted to St Vincent’s Hospital in August 2013, was on a trolley overnight and was reviewed by a consultant the next day, counsel said. The side bars on the trolley were lowered so Mrs Lawlor could have lunch and she later fell from the trolley and suffered cuts to her head, the court heard.

A postmortem revealed the cause of death was an acute or chronic subdural haematoma secondary to a fall and an inquest later returned a verdict of medical misadventure.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved a settlement of €51,000. Mrs Lawlor’s daughter, Geraldine Eaton, of Fortrose Park, Tempelogue, had sued St Vincent’s Healthcare Group Ltd.

It was claimed Mrs Lawlor had suffered a fall on August 14th, 2013 while in a nursing home. She had lacerations to the elbow, lip and nose and was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital emergency department and admitted for observation.

Distress

She had played a central role in the lives of her daughter, son and grandchildren and had been a devoted mother and grandmother.

Outside court, Ms Eaton said “We miss her very much, and we hope that what happens to her does not happen in any other hospital.”