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Cavan General deaths report

[Posted: Thu 04/03/2004]

by Fergal Bowers

The lack of ‘surgical leadership’ at Cavan General Hospital has been criticised in a report just published, which examined deaths and complications after surgery at the troubled hospital.

The report by the North Eastern Health Board medical advisor, Mr Finbarr Lennon involved the examination of 15 cases dealt with at the hospital between September-December last year.

Of the 15 cases, 13 patients had surgery and seven died within 30 days of their operations. Others suffered serious post-operative complications. Most of the patients were elderly, the average age being 75 years and all of the cases were ‘high risk’ where illness or death after the operation was a danger.

However, the report is critical of the lack of regular audits of cases and raises questions about the assessment of patients and some decisions in terms of surgery.

It says that early consideration should have been given in certain cases to have the patients transferred to another hospital with a specialty gastrointestinal surgery service.

All patients requiring GI surgery are now being referred elsewhere as a result of the findings. However, the hospital is being allowed to continue to provide an emergency on-call surgical service. The situation will be reviewed in four weeks.

The report shows that last year, there were 750 incidents reported in the Cavan-Monaghan Hospital group.

Early last year, two consultants were suspended from Cavan General pending an inquiry. This put pressure on the hospital as well as the decision by the health board some time ago to take its neighbour Monaghan General off-call because of problems there.

Cavan General currently has one permanent surgeon, however two consultants have just been offered temporary contracts and it is hoped to have a fourth temporary surgeon in place soon.

GPs in the area have expressed concern over what they claim is the steady decline in services at Cavan.

See the report of the inquiry at…

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