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Doherty demand review of Coroner service following McGinley family case meeting

28 March, 2007

West Tyrone Sinn Féin MP MLA Pat Doherty, today accompanied family members of deceased Strabane woman Maureen McGinley on the delegation that meet with officials from Altnagelvin Hospitals to discuss how she sustained 32 rib fractures after her death.

Following the meeting the West Tyrone MP said,

"I accompanied members of the McGinley family to this meeting today in support of their reasonable demand for a full explanation to be given into how their mother sustained these injuries following her death.

"These revelations have caused immense additional trauma to a family already trying to come terms with the loss of their mother, and apart from seeking answers in their own case, the family have also pursued this issue so as to ensure that no other family would have to go through the same heartache and trauma that they have had to go through.

"During the three-hour long meeting, family members and members of the delegation probed every aspect of the case in an attempt to get to the bottom of what happened.

"Unfortunately, the result of this in-house enquiry carried out by officials from Altnagelvin did not provide any conclusive explanations as to how these multiple fractures were sustained and apart from securing an apology from the officials about the breakdown in communications with the family and sympathy about the ordeal that they have been put through, the McGinley family are still left with so many questions remaining unanswered.

"To this end, I will be following up on today's meeting by writing to the Department of Health and the NIO, who are in charge of the day to day running of the Coroners Office, demanding that they jointly undertake a review into the all the procedures that are currently in place and which have been shown, through the efforts of the McGinley family, to be totally inadequate to command public confidence.

"As part of such a review, I will be calling for the formulation and introduction of clearly defined guidelines and measures to provide assurance to relatives of the deceased that the bodies of their loved ones are treated with the utmost care, dignity and respect throughout the coronary service process as part of a wider review into how the centralization of Coronary Services in Belfast which has served to exacerbate the grieving of so many families through delays in the return of their loved ones bodies and particularly because of the unsatisfactory weekend arrangements." ENDS

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