Ombudsman frustrated at not being able to Investigate Shocking Nursing Home Death
The tragic and shocking case of Mary Bartley Meehan was raised in the Dáil today by Aontú leader and Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín. Speaking in the Dáil he stated;
“Mary Barley Meehan lost her son and husband to Covid-19 in Kilbrew Nursing Home within just 6 weeks of each other. Mary was recently shown a video of her husband before he died. The side of Ultan’s face was discoloured with black congealed blood. His nails were long and had become black as he had, unknown to himself, been picking at his facial tumours. As a result this wound became infected. Shockingly his face had become infested with maggots. This is just one of the many horrors that happened to Ultan and his son”.
“Months after this has happened to Adrian, Ultan and Mary the Minister for Health, the Department of Health, the HSE and HIQA have all refused to investigate what happened”.
Peadar’s constituency colleague Aontú Meath County Councillor Emer Tóibín recently wrote to the Ombudsman to ask him would he investigate this horrific situation. She stated;
“It is absolutely astounding that the government will not do the right thing for Mary and her family and investigate this. But the government have form. They have refused to date to investigate the shocking number of deaths that happened in the Nursing Home Sector during this time. Almost 1000 people died from Covid in Nursing Homes. I am not aware of such a shocking loss of life in institutions in such a short period of time ever before. Yet there is such government resistance to investigating what happened”.
Its clear that there is a massive chasm of accountability here. The Ombudsman has been very forthright. He has raised the issue of extending the remit to investigate the clinical judgements at the heart of this case and others. He has stated that the vast majority of cases relating to the health care sector involve some element of clinical decision-making. He has gone as far to say that he is frustrated that he cannot investigate these harrowing tragic cases.
In response to An Teachta Tóibín’s Dáil question the Minister for Transport Communications and Climate Actions Eamon Ryan requested from the Deputy direction on the necessary changes in the law. In response An Teachta Tóibín stated;
“We will do this immediately but Minister Ryan has still not addressed why the Dept of Health and the HSE are refusing to investigate. The current programme for Government contains a commitment to extend the remit of the Office of the Ombudsman to cover clinical judgement. If they have committed to the logic in general there should be no reason why they can’t commit to this case specifically”.
Please find the letter from the Ombudsman to Cllr Emer Tóibín in relation to Mary Bartley Meehan attached.Meehan M Response to Councillor Tóibín 20200925 Signed-1-1