Drugs were still being dispensed for man found on UHL floor 12 hours after death

The late Martin Abbott.

DRUGS which were prescribed to a patient who was found dead on the floor of the emergency department at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) continued to be dispensed even after his death.

A shock report on the death of Martin Abbott (65), from Shannon in County Clare, found that of a total of 39 drugs prescribed for the deceased, only 24 “could possibly have been” for him. One of which was dispensed 12 hours after his death in December 2019.

Mr Abbott was found dead on the floor of a cubicle of the busy UHL emergency department in December 2019. It’s believed he had been there for up to or over hour.

An unpublished systems analysis review (SAR) into his death — disclosed in the Sunday Independent — reported “major avoidable errors” in his care and charted how his deteriorating condition went undetected.

The review found that files pertaining to Mr Abbott had gone missing, making the dispensing record of the drugs prescribed to him – aside from the drug Kardex –  unreliable, with the review team unable to establish which drugs he received.

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The pharmacist offered to the review that a problem may have arisen with ED patients’ names not being entered on the automated dispensing cabinets.

The report singled out “severe” overcrowding in the emergency department as the “fundamental” cause of Mr Abbott’s death.

Mr Abbott’s family said in a statement after a coroner’s inquest into his death held in Limerick that they had been “robbed of memories” they could have had with their father and that the system “failed him”.

The review suggested that while the issue was not a factor Mr Abbott’s death, there was a risk to patients of being administered the wrong medicine.

A recent inquest attributed the Shannon man’s death to medical misadventure, with the UL Hospitals Group apologising for the failings in his care.