An elderly man who suffered severe burns next to a radiator in his west Dublin flat after collapsing could have lain there for up to three days before being discovered, an inquest has found.
ohn Tuite, 86, of Father Lemass Court, Ballyfermot Road, Ballyfermot, died at St James’s Hospital in Dublin on 20 November 2019, less than 12 hours after being discovered at his home in a Dublin City operated independent housing complex for the elderly had been advice.
An autopsy revealed the father of three suffered a massive heart attack and severe burns on 12% of his body from lying next to a radiator.
Autopsy results suggested Mr Power may have been lying on the floor in the hallway of his apartment for three days before he was found.
Coroner Clare Keane said it was not possible to definitively determine which came first, but she thought it more likely Mr Power collapsed after the heart attack, before suffering burns to his back, buttocks and legs.
In a statement to the Dublin District Coroner’s Court, Mary Power, a liaison officer at the complex, said she was concerned something was wrong when she found on November 19, 2019 that the door to Mr Tuite’s flat was closed but not locked was.
Ms Power said she found Mr Tuite in the hallway of his flat.
While he was still conscious, Ms Power said he could barely speak and she believed he had fallen.
The inquest also found evidence that an alerted ambulance crew found the pensioner was severely dehydrated.
The deceased’s daughter, Ann Tuite, told coroner Clare Keane that the heat in the home was “incredible”.
“My dad loved the heat, but not that much,” she added.
Mr Tuite said her father was very independent and very mobile and would regularly take a bus or Luas to get around the city.
She pointed out that her father was so active that he worked in a local undertaker’s office well into his 80s.
Ms Tuite said she assumes her father was either going to the toilet or coming from the toilet when he collapsed in the hallway.
However, she also expressed concern that he might have slipped from the water on the floor, as she said her father regularly had problems with an elderly neighbor in the apartment above her leaving her taps on and water leaking through his ceiling had defected.
Ms Tuite said her family had complained to the council about the issue but “they didn’t want to hear about it”.
While Ms Tuite said it was possible her father slipped as a result of the water subsequently drying out from the heat, the investigation found there was no evidence there had been a leak at the time.
Garda Joanne Lyons, of Ballyfermot Garda Station, said investigators had not been able to determine when Mr Tuite last saw or spoke to anyone.
Ms Tuite said her family estimated he may have lain in the hallway for 3-4 days based on the stubble on his face as “he was always clean-shaven”.
A report from a consultant doctor at St James’s Hospital, Nadim Akasheh, who treated Mr Tuite, said the patient was critically ill on admission.
dr Akasheh said he suffered a serious heart injury as well as irreversible tissue loss.
The coroner issued a narrative verdict on Mr Tuite’s death, finding it was due to a combination of a heart attack and severe burns.
dr However, Keane said the verdict was meant to reflect the fact that the order in which they happened was “inconclusive”.
The coroner offered his condolences to Mr Tuite’s family and said he appeared to be “an amazing person” who had “lived an amazing life”.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/pensioner-86-suffered-severe-burns-after-collapsing-next-to-radiator-and-may-have-been-lying-there-for-three-days-42116625.html Pensioners (86) suffered severe burns next to the radiator after the collapse and may have been there for three days