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UHL ED ‘like a death trap’ when teen presented


A consultant at University Hospital Limerick has said the Emergency Department there was “like a death trap” on the weekend that Aoife Johnston presented at the facility.

Dr James Gray is giving evidence on the fourth day of the inquest into the 16-year-old’s death.

She died in December 2022, after a lengthy wait for treatment for suspected sepsis.

The inquest has already heard testimony that Dr Gray was asked to attend at the ED on the night of 17 December 2022, given the immense pressure on staff, as a result of overcrowding there.

He told Counsel for the Johnston family that he was not asked about a specific case by colleagues in the department.

Under cross examination by Damien Tansey, he said he had been telephoned by Nurse Katherine Skelly at 10.28 on the night in question.

She articulated that the department was extremely busy and asked if he could come in.

Dr Gray said he had an extremely busy workload and had to be back in the ED at 8am the following morning.

He had to work in the clinical decision unit on the Sunday morning and was the only person who could carry out that task.

“Had I known there was a 16-year-old child in septic shock, a Category 2 patient, who couldn’t get into the resus room, the system failed her, the ED failed her, but if I had known there was a patient like that in the Department, I would have come in. The problem is I wasn’t asked about a specific case,” Dr Gray said.

More to follow


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