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Patient allegedly smothered with pillow in Dublin hospital

Crime DeskBy Patrick O'Connell
Patient allegedly smothered with pillow in Dublin hospital

GARDAI Are probing claims that a vulnerable patient with a degenerative condition was the victim of a smothering incident involving a pillow at St James’s Hospital.

Sources have confirmed to the Sunday World that a staff member employed by an outside contractor at the hospital made a statement to Gardai in Kilmainham hospital on Sunday last.

He is understood to have told Gardaí that he witnessed the incident involving a carer employed by the hospital the previous Thursday.

It’s alleged the carer had been straddling the patient, who suffers from a degenerative condition, and holding a pillow over his head, according to sources.

When contacted this week the HSE refused to comment on the incident or say whether the organisation was carrying out its own probe.

The HSE also refused to say whether any staff member had been suspended from duty pending the outcome of any probe.

Likewise, St James’s Hospital refused to discuss the allegation.

In a statement they told this newspaper: “St James’s Hospital cannot comment on individual patient cases for reasons of patient confidentiality.”

Sources close to the incident say the matter will have to be thoroughly investigated before any sanctions would be considered against the staff member at the centre of the allegations.

“There is a difficulty in that what may appear to be an assault could actually have been something quite different,” a source cautioned.

“It could be the case that this was an incident where a patient was being restrained. The matter will however be the subject of a rigorous investigation.