Belfast Telegraph

Hospital looks at death case x-rays

A hospital that failed to detect the multiple fractures which caused a grandmother's death may challenge expert claims that some of the injuries were visible on her x-ray, an inquest hearing has been told.

Enniskillen pensioner Elizabeth McTeggart, 71, died in her own bed four days after being sent home from the town's Erne hospital where she had been admitted following a road accident.

She had sustained 17 fractures to her ribs and sternum but doctors did not diagnose those injuries when she was examined in A&E.

A GP subsequently called out to her home after she complained of severe pain and difficulty breathing prescribed additional medication but she was not readmitted to hospital.

During criminal proceedings over the April 2009 car crash, Northern Ireland's state pathologist Jack Crane, who performed an autopsy on Mrs McTeggart, said her injuries, though severe, were survivable if she had received the appropriate treatment.

In the trial, it also emerged that a consultant radiologist from Oxford, Dr Eugene McNally, who was commissioned to independently examine the x-rays taken in the Erne hospital, claimed that some of the injuries were visible.

At Mrs McTeggart's preliminary inquest hearing in Belfast, a lawyer for the Western Trust indicated that it would be seeking another expert to review Dr McNally's five-page report.

David Sharpe told coroner Brian Sherrard that it was "usual to seek independent advice" on such reports.

"In due course, it may be the case that we will be serving a witness statement from an expert," he said.

Mrs McTeggart, from Cappog Road, was a front-seat passenger in a car driven by her daughter when another vehicle crossed onto their side of the road and ploughed into them head-on in Enniskillen.

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