Hospital apologises over care failings for woman (72) who died 11 days after admission

Ann Moyles died in December 2017 after she had spent 20 hours on a trolley in the Emergency Department of Mayo University Hospital

A hospital has apologised over failings in care for a 72-year-old woman who died 11 days after she was admitted suffering from shortness of breath and weakness.

Mother-of-seven, Ann Moyles, from Castlehill, Ballina, Co Mayo, died on December 30th, 2017. Her son, Tom Moyles, alleged there were numerous failings in the care given to his mother after she was admitted to Mayo University Hospital (MUH) in Castlebar on December 19th.

Mr Moyles and the rest of the family were particularly upset that she spent 20 hours on a trolley in the Emergency Department due to a shortage of beds, the court heard.

In a statement after the case, they said when her son Anthony arrived the next day to find her still on a trolley in a shared cubicle, gasping for breath, he was told there was no doctor available. Only after he insisted that a doctor be fetched “did care seem to kick into place”.


Mr Moyles settled the family’s action for damages against the HSE for negligence and breach of duty over Mrs Moyles’ death, and an apology was read out in court on behalf of the hospital on Wednesday.

Hospital manager Catherine Donohue said MUH offered sincere and heartfelt apologies to the Moyles family for failings in care while Mrs Moyles was an in-patient in December 2017. “I appreciate this apology will not change the outcome for your late mother and your family and for this we are deeply sorry,” Ms Donohoe wrote to Tom.

Outlining the background on behalf of the family, Gerard Clarke SC, instructed by David O’Malley of Callan Tansey Solicitors, said Mrs Moyles was suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and the day after she was admitted she was intubated.

Counsel said the fact that she was on a trolley for 20 hours before she was transferred to ICU was a source of particular annoyance to the family. Their expert would say that she received appropriate medical treatment while on the trolley, she was extubated on December 23rd but due to her condition she should have been reintubated.

The family’s expert would also say the way she was treated led directly to her death, counsel said.

Mr Justice Paul Coffey approved the distribution of the €35,000 statutory payment for distress equally among the eight members of the family, with provision to be made for her eight grandchildren from that.

In a statement after the case, the family said their mother never came home that Christmas due to circumstances for which they have never received answers.

“As a family the reason we are here today highlighting this case is to shine a light on the disgrace that our hospital and hospitals around the country are in,” it said.

“Our healthcare service is a shambles and a disgrace. The amount of horror stories everyday is not acceptable.”

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