Call for inquiry into death of Meath nursing home resident

‘Deeply disappointing’ Harris did not set up independent investigation – support group

A Co Meath nursing home resident died two weeks after being admitted to hospital with an infestation of maggots in a facial wound that the care facility was unable to manage.

Sage Advocacy, a support group for vulnerable adults, said it was "deeply disappointing and worrying" that former minister for health Simon Harris did not launch an investigation into the care of Ultan Meehan (79) at Kilbrew Nursing Home in Ashbourne.

Mr Meehan was brought to hospital on May 29th, two weeks after his wife, Mary Bartley Meehan, raised concerns about the condition she found her husband in during a May 14th visit.

She had discovered that the Co Meath man, who suffered from dementia and terminal cancer, appeared to have scratched facial tumours into an open wound.

When he was eventually transferred to Connolly Hospital in Dublin, medics found his wound infested with maggots and that the nursing home had been “unable to manage” him or his wound.

Mr Meehan died of sepsis on June 15th, 10 weeks after his step-son Adrian Bartley, Mrs Bartley Meehan’s son who had Down’s syndrome and dementia, died in the same hospital of Covid-19.

The two men had shared a room at Kilbrew. Mr Meehan had tested positive for Covid-19 in mid-April and it was listed as a “significant” condition contributing to his death.

‘Notices of concern’

Mervyn Taylor, executive director of Sage, said the group had sent four "notices of concern" about the care of the men to nursing homes regulator Hiqa and the HSE between April and June.

A spokeswoman for Mr Harris said he was “very concerned” about the issues raised by Sage in the case and that his department made Hiqa and the HSE aware of them and “was assured both were following up with the family”.

Kilbrew chief executive James Keeling said the home worked to provide "the best of care to every resident" and that, like other homes, it was "under acute pressure in the midst of the pandemic".

Hiqa is completing a report following a June 4th inspection at Kilbrew. The Department of Health told Mr Taylor the HSE had referred the case on to the local safeguarding team.