Johan Verbruggen of our Galway office represented the family of the late Martin Best at an inquest into his death at Mayo General Hospital. Coroner for Mayo, Mr. Pat O’Connor, was asked to conduct the inquest by the Attorney General. This followed requests submitted by Johan Verbruggen on behalf of the Best family. At the inquest the HSE apologised to Geraldine Best, widow of Martin Best, for a deviation in procedure which triggered the deterioration in his condition.
The inquest heard that Mr Best was admitted to the hospital on January 1st, 2019. He was receiving treatment for advanced chronic obstructive airway disease (emphysema) and lower respiratory tract infection. The inquest heard policy procedures for the removal of a central venous catheter (CVC) line were not followed in his case.
It is stipulated that CVC lines should be removed with two people present but there was only one, Dr Muhammad Iqbal, medical registrar, in attendance when the procedure was carried out.
Furthermore the inquest heard that Mr Best was allowed to sit up from the procedure sooner than recommended. Patients are advised to remain in a lying, flat position for approximately five minutes following the removal of CVC lines.
The coroner said that in his view the removal of the CVC line on January 8th, 2019, was the trigger for the deterioration in Mr Best’s medical condition. He said the medical staff had been “confused, perplexed and puzzled” by Mr Best’s reaction to the removal of the CVC line.
“In my view, the trigger, the catalyst for the death was the removal of the CVC line”, the coroner continued. He then returned a verdict of misadventure.
Speaking after the verdict, Johan Verbruggen, said that due to the death not being accurately recorded the family were forced to write to the coroner and the Attorney General to demand an inquest.
“That should not have had to happen. It has prolonged the family suffering and the ordeal of getting answers and closure.”