AN American doctor who had travelled to Westport with his wife and a group of other doctors died from a heart attack at the foot of Croagh Patrick last Tuesday morning.
Dr Thomas Connolly (49), a gynaecologist from Wausau, Wisconsin, collapsed at the foot of the holy mountain after suffering a massive heart attack caused by a sudden coronary blockage. He died almost immediately, despite attempts by his wife and by paramedics to save his life.
His distraught wife, Dr Kim Connolly, told the inquest into his death that she was taking pictures of him at the foot of the mountain when he collapsed as if he was having a seizure. She said her husband had suffered from high blood pressure but he had not been complaining of ill health before he collapsed.
The inquest was held in Castlebar at short notice on Tuesday evening to allow the repatriation of the father of three back to the US.
Pathologist Dr Fadel Bennani who performed the postmortem explained that the coronary artery was more than 90 per cent blocked, and that Dr Connolly ‘died immediately’ and without suffering.
The Connollys had been staying in Westport with a group of up to a dozen other doctors from the US. They had travelled to Croagh Patrick at 10.30am with the intention of climbing it. Dr Kim Connolly told John O’Dwyer, coronor for south Mayo, that both she and her husband wanted to climb Croagh Patrick because it would be a fun thing to do but also for spiritual reasons.
Mr O’Dwyer recorded a verdict of death from natural causes and extended his sympathies to Dr Connolly and her family in the US.
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