Teenager left dying of meningitis for 13 hours on Limerick hospital trolley

The late Aoife Johnston. Photo: RIP.ie

A MANAGEMENT team has been appointed to investigate claims that a 16-year-old girl who died of bacterial meningitis at University Hospital Limerick was left on a trolley for at least 13 hours despite pleas from her distraught family.

Aoife Johnston, a Leaving Cert student at St Caimin’s Community School, was remembered as hugely popular and kind-hearted young woman at her funeral in Shannon yesterday.

Aoife, who lived in Cronan Lawn, became suddenly unwell on Saturday and was admitted to University Hospital Limerick where she died on Monday.

According to a report on the Independent.ie website, Aoife  was classified as a “category two” patient which meant her situation was not regarded as life-threatening. Category one patients are those in need of resuscitation or those suffering conditions such as a heart attack or a stroke.

More than 90 patients were left on trolleys in the emergency department and corridors at UHL between Saturday and Sunday last weekend.

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

Medical staff on duty over the weekend were said to be “distraught” and “angry” at the circumstances surrounding the teenager’s death.

In a statement issued to the Limerick Post this morning, a spokesman for the UL Hospitals Group confirmed that following the death of a teenager from meningitis in University Hospital Limerick on December 19, 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 spokesman added.

Staff at the hospital are understood to have repeatedly raised concerns about the chaotic overcrowding in the hospital over recent weeks but the situation has continued to deteriorate.

Independent.ie put a series of questions to the University Limerick Hospital Group relating to the tragic events of last weekend. However, most went unanswered.

They declined to confirm how long Aoife Johnston was left on a trolley without being seen by a doctor.

The hospital also failed to outline how many nurses and doctors were on duty in the emergency department on Saturday night.

And they could not provide details on the average trolley wait time at UHL on Saturday and Sunday.

A spokesperson said: “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”.