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Around Ireland Accidental lethal injection

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Patrick Markey

Health officials are to carry out a full review of procedures at operating theaters following the accidental death by lethal injection of a woman at Galway’s University College Hospital, reports the Tuam Herald.

The death of Veronica Connolly, who was 69, during a routine operation was characterized as "human error" after a doctor at the hospital mixed a powdered antibiotic with what he thought was distilled water and administered it intravenously.

The antibiotic had in fact been diluted with a lethal substance called potassium chloride — a substance used to execute prisoners in Texas — which was in a similar vial to the distilled water on an operating room trolloy.

Details of the circumstances surrounding the woman’s death last October were recalled at a recent inquest into her death. A jury heard that the dead woman was admitted to the hospital for a routine hernia operation and had been given a powdered antibiotic which was diluted with potassium chloride.

The substance was injected by a senior house officer immediately after the operation. The woman suffered a heart attack and could not be resuscitated.

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Three vials of colorless liquid were available on the anesthetic trolley. One contained water, the second was a simple saline solution and the third was strong potassium chloride. All were presented in similar containers, only the potassium vial had a red label. Viewed from the back, the label was white and similar to the two harmless vials.

Horse trouble in Tuam

Managers at the Tuam Celtic soccer team have had enough. Enough of the horses.

Team officials are considering giving up their grounds in the Tuam and moving lock, stock and barrel to a new site because of continuing problems with wandering horses — and vandalism at their facility.

The local Tuam Herald reported recently that after 25 years of problematic relations with neighbors, Celtic have run out of patience and are seriously considering moving to new nine-acre site which they have been offered near rural Milltown.

"When we moved in and started to use the ground we had our fences broken, horses let in to the grounds, etc. Now this problem is still ongoing and the condition is disgrace to Tuam Celtic and to the town of Tuam," the managers wrote in a recent letter.

"The feedback which was received from parents, schools, bus drivers, etc. regarding the condition of the carpark area, with horse feed, horse dirt etc., was embarrassing."

A decision on the move was still pending.

Bones of contention

A County Mayo volunteer medical unit has appealed for the return of a recruit who joined the unit only three weeks ago — Moses the skeleton.

Thieves rattled off with the bones after they broke into the headquarters of the Castlebar branch of the Order of Malta.

Young members of the 40-strong order had worked packing bags in a supermarket during their Christmas holidays to raise £500 to buy the skeleton as a teaching aid.

When it arrived earlier this month, they immediately christened it Moses and set about assembling the pieces.

The order’s local commander, Lt. Jarlath Cunningham, described the theft as a mean-minded and ghoulish crime and appealed for a rapid return of the missing Moses.

The thieves took nothing else and manhandled Moses out the same way they came in — through an 18-inch square window they had smashed.

"We have been saving for 18 months to buy a real skeleton to help with lectures on first aid," Cunningham said. "We hardly had it assembled before it was taken.

"We are hoping that it is just a prank and it will turn up in an excavation in the town. They can’t sell it or make stock with it, so maybe they’ll bury it," Cunningham said.

— Andrew Bushe

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