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Teenage girl who died from meningitis was waiting on hospital trolley for 16 hours

Lucy Devine

Published 
| Last updated 

Teenage girl who died from meningitis was waiting on hospital trolley for 16 hours

Featured Image Credit: Facebook/St. Caimin's Community School PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo

A teenager who died of bacterial meningitis was reportedly left waiting on a trolley for up to 16 hours.

It is understood that Aoife Johnston, 16, from Shannon, Ireland, was left in an overcrowded A&E department at University Hospital Limerick for between 13 and 16 hours last weekend.

Aoife has been remembered as 'beautiful' and 'kind' and was laid to rest on Thursday.

According to Independent.ie, an official inquiry - also referred to as an incident management review - will be launched into Aoife's death and the care she received.

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A teenager who died of bacterial meningitis was reportedly left waiting on a trolley for up to 16 hours. Credit: David Burton/Alamy Stock Photo
A teenager who died of bacterial meningitis was reportedly left waiting on a trolley for up to 16 hours. Credit: David Burton/Alamy Stock Photo

It is understood that the teenager was eventually given antibiotics but by that point it was too late.

The hospital had been experiencing its 'busiest weekend ever' and it's believed that staff had repeatedly raised concerns over the overcrowding in recent weeks.

On Saturday alone, there were 251 people at the emergency department. Normal figures on a Sunday would be between 150 and 181 patients.

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It is thought that Aoife had been classified as a 'category two' patient - meaning she was not regarded as being in a life-threatening condition.

A spokesperson for UHL told Independent.ie: “UL Hospitals Group is unable to comment on individual cases due to our ethical and legal obligations to protect the privacy of all patients and staff in our hospitals.

“Our colleagues at HSE Public Health Mid-West are investigating a case of meningococcal disease In Clare, which concerns a teenager who died.

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“We offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends of this young person.”

However, the publication noted that the hospital declined to confirm how long the teenager was left on a trolley and how many doctors and nurses were on duty that evening.

They also could not provide details on the average trolley wait time on both the Saturday and Sunday.

Tyla has reached out to UHL for further comment.

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A spokesperson said: "UL Hospitals Group can confirm that following the death of a teenager from meningitis in University Hospital Limerick on 19th December a Serious Incident Management Team has been established and a comprehensive investigation will take place.

"UL Hospitals Group extend our sincere condolences to the family following their devastating loss."

The hospital had been experiencing its 'busiest weekend ever' and it's believed that staff had repeatedly raised concerns over the overcrowding. Credit: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo
The hospital had been experiencing its 'busiest weekend ever' and it's believed that staff had repeatedly raised concerns over the overcrowding. Credit: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo

According to figures, 17,640 people have been left without a bed this year, compared to 12,108 people at UHL last year.

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The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: “We have reached an overcrowding milestone today in that 2022 is officially the worst year for hospital overcrowding on record. This is not something to be celebrated.

“It is clear that there is a dearth of ambition to tackle this extremely serious problem.

"We commend that some hospital groups have curtailed non-urgent care and asked that people seek alternative care pathways if they can but it is clear that the HSE and the Government are not taking this issue as seriously as they should be.”

Topics: Health, News

Lucy Devine
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