Martin Best of Childers Heights, Ballina died in hospital in January 2019 after a procedure to have a central venous catheter (CVC) line removed.

The deceased had longstanding chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and on or about the 29 December 2018 he experienced breathing difficulties, and he became increasingly wheezy by reason of which he was attended the said hospital.  Investigations were conducted, including chest X-rays, and he was subsequently discharged in the early hours of the 30 December 2018.  The deceased was contacted by the Defendant, its servants and/or agents on the 31 December 2018 who advised him that, upon reviewing the said chest X-rays, there was an area of clinical suspicion and that further imaging needed to be undertaken.  In the early hours of the 1 January 2019 the deceased became very breathless and attended the said hospital where a CT scan was performed.  The deceased was subsequently admitted to the said hospital.  His condition deteriorated when he developed respiratory failure (Hypercapnic Type II) in association with rapid atrial fibrillation.  On or about the 3 January 2019, the deceased was transferred to a Critical Care Unit at the said hospital for non-invasive ventilatory support and treatment of atrial fibrillation with Amiodarone, which necessitated the placement of a central venous catheter in his neck.

By the 4 January 2019, the deceased’s condition had improved to the extent that it was considered that he was approaching being well enough to be discharged from the said unit.  The deceased was subsequently discharged from the said unit and transferred to a ward at the said hospital with the said central venous catheter in place.

On or about the 8 January 2019, the Defendant, its servants and/or agents removed the said central venous catheter from the deceased’s neck and, in the course thereof, caused, allowed and/or permitted a venous air embolism to occur in his blood circulation system as a result of which he immediately collapsed and as a result of which he sustained a catastrophic neurological injury which ultimately, and tragically, led to his death on the 12 January 2019.

Martin’s daughter Sharon Best said, “I hope that lessons can be learned from my late Dad’s death.  I would encourage a nationwide protocol to be introduced for the safe removal of CVC lines to prevent similar future deaths occurring”.

Mr David O’Malley acting for the family said, “A regrettable part of this tragic death was the failure of the Hospital to notify the Coroner resulting in a delay of an Inquest taking place.  It is important for all sudden unexplained deaths to be notified to Coroners immediately”.

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Western People