Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

'Bag death' woman inquest adjourned

A coroner has adjourned an inquest into the death of a woman who died in hospital after suspected suffocation on a plastic bag

An inquest into the death of a woman who died in hospital in Northern Ireland after suspected suffocation on a plastic bag has been adjourned to allow fresh documents to be produced.

Eileen Keogh, 61, from Ballaghbeg Park in Newcastle, Co Down, died in February last year at Downe Hospital.

Relative Grace Keenan said she had not received a report from the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust because her former solicitor no longer worked for her.

Senior coroner John Leckey said the report was a summary of the care the woman received and why she was admitted to hospital.

"The report recognises that in some instances things could have been done better," he told Ms Keenan at Belfast Coroners' Court.

He added: "It is not uncritical and, as I have said, it identifies areas where matters should be improved.

"I would have thought having read it that it would be reassuring to you to know that lessons have been learned."

At one stage the family had approached a solicitor to represent them and the lawyer obtained papers from the coroner but the family did not receive funding for legal aid, the inquest heard.

Mr Leckey said he would arrange for copies of documents to be made available and added health staff would meet the family. He said he would inquire later whether they felt their concerns were met or wanted a formal inquest.

The inquest was adjourned with no date fixed.

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