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HSE unable to provide figures on Covid-19 deaths in MUH

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NO NUMBERS FORTHCOMING The HSE are not able to determine the exact number of patients who died from Covid-19 at Mayo University Hospital.

Saolta Group CEO says determining death figures ‘quite complicated’


Anton McNulty

THE Health Service Executive says it is unable to determine the number of Covid-19 deaths in Mayo University Hospital, as the process to determine the figure is ‘quite complicated’.
Mayo has one of the highest death rates for Covid-19 in the country. According to figures released by the Central Statistics Office, 2.8 percent of people who contracted the disease in Mayo have died in the last 12 months. As of Friday, March 19, 6,072 people contracted Covid-19 in Mayo, and this resulted in 171 deaths.
A large number of these deaths occurred in MUH after the patient was admitted.
Raising the high death rate in Mayo at last Tuesday’s meeting of the Regional Health Forum West, Castlebar-based councillor Michael Kilcoyne asked for a breakdown of how many patients died from Covid-19 while in the hospital and how many of those who died contracted the disease after admission.
However, Tony Canavan, CEO of the Saolta Group of hospitals that includes MUH, said that he was unable to provide a breakdown of those numbers.
“That information is not readily available. How many of those who people who regrettably lost their lives to Covid-19 died in MUH. We cannot give that figure definitively. That is why I did not provide it in the answer. It will require a detailed analysis of all the individual cases to determine the actual cause of death and whether or not the person is from Mayo or outside Co Mayo. It is quite complicated,” he said.

Taking steps
Mr Canavan explained that if a Covid-19 patient from Mayo dies in a facility outside the county, the death is still recorded as a Mayo death. This is the same with a patient from outside the county who may have died in MUH.
“It is difficult to provide what might seem like a very simple answer to the question,” he said. While accepting patients contracted Covid-19 after admission to the hospital, he said it would be labour intensive to go through all the records.
“It would be possible to determine that on an individual case, but to go back over every admission to MHU over the last 12 months would be a very significant manual task,” he claimed, while adding the hospital is learning from the lessons of the last year.
“We are saying openly that patients have died from Covid-19 at Mayo University Hospital and we are learning from that process. We are also saying quite openly that people have contracted Covid-19 while in Mayo University Hospital like in every other hospital across the country. We are learning from that process and taking steps to reduce the risk of people contracting Covid-19 while in hospital,” he outlined.
Cllr Kilcoyne disagreed, saying he does not accept it would be a complicated process to determine how many Mayo people died from Covid-19 after contracting it in the hospital.
Pointing out that all patients are tested for Covid-19 on admission to MUH, he said: “Once you establish the number who died in MUH from Covid all you have to look at is those who died and see if positive or negative on admission.”
In reply, Mr Canavan said: “The only undertaking I can give you is I will examine that issue to see how impossible or impractical that might be.”