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The late Tom O'Donoghue

Died in taxi on way to Shannondoc

A  FEAKLE man, who called a taxi to bring him from his digs in Foynes to a Shannondoc surgery in Newcastle West, had collapsed and was not breathing by the time they arrived at the surgery, an inquest heard this week.

Thomas (Tom) O’Donoghue (41), from Main Street, Feakle, was working with Foynes Engineering and staying in the Shannon House bar and guesthouse in Foynes at the time of his death, December 14 last.

The inquest in Newcastle West heard that Mr O’Donoghue, a single man born in April 1974,  had gone upstairs about 10pm but came back down about 11pm, complaining of chest pains and shortness of breath.

The co-owner of the guest-house, Richard O’Connor, said in a deposition read out at the inquest, that he was out for a walk when one of his staff rang to say that Mr O’Donoghue was complaining of breathing problems. He returned to Shannon House, where he saw Mr O’Donoghue “slumped over”. “He was bent over and didn’t talk much, as he was finding it hard to breathe,” Mr O’Connor said. When the taxi came, however, “Tom O’Donoghue walked out”.

Mr O’Connor thought Mr O’Donoghue had had a few drinks earlier in the night but “didn’t notice anything unusual about him”.

Thomas Mulqueen, in his deposition, told the inquest that he got a  phone call from Mr O’Donoghue that night.  “I couldn’t really understand him,” he said, as Mr O’Donoghue’s voice was “squeaky”. A staff member at Shannon House then rang Mr Mulqueen back and said it was urgent. When Mr Mulqueen arrived at the  guest house and bar, Mr O’Donoghue “walked into the car” but he was breathing badly. “It was frightening.”
“I drove as quickly as I could,” Mr Mulqueen said.

Dr Sheena Murphy was the doctor on call at Shannondoc, Newcastle West, on the night of December 14/15 last, the inquest heard. At about 11.30pm, she was called out and found Mr O’Donoghue “in a collapsed state” in the  car. He was unresponsive, not breathing and had no pulse.

The doctor and Mr Mulqueen brought Mr O’Donoghue into the hallway and began CPR, which continued for 25 minutes. An ambulance arrived but Dr Murphy pronounced Mr O’Donoghue dead at 11.55pm.

Dr Emer Caffrey carried out the post mortem on Mr O’Donoghue and concluded that his death was due to acute laryngeal oedema or swelling of the larynx, most likely due to anaphylaxis. A member of the O’Donoghue family, who attended the inquest, said they were not aware he had any allergies.

The jury concurred with Dr Caffrey’s cause of death and coroner,  Antoinette Simon BL said she was satisfied to return a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence. She described Mr O’Donoghue as quite a young man, who had good career prospects. She expressed her condolences with his family on their loss. The jury chairman, Tom McCoy, also offered the sympathy of the jury.

Sergeant Gearóid Thompson, who was the investigating garda, offered condolences on behalf of the Garda Síochána. “I knew Tom personally,” he said. “He was a great character. We had the odd pint. He brought joy to any room he went into.”


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