Sunday 24 March 2019

'A man shouldn't be left lying dead for 4 hours'

Family members carry Brian Hamilton's coffin out of church
Family members carry Brian Hamilton's coffin out of church
Brian Hamilton

The distraught brother of a Dublin man who died in the waiting area of a city hospital's emergency department has said his sibling was a human being who should not have been left to die the way he did.

Brian Hamilton (40), who was originally from Crumlin, lay dead in Tallaght Hospital for at least four hours before he was noticed by staff last Saturday morning.

Hundreds of mourners turned out to pay their respects to Mr Hamilton at his funeral yesterday. He has been described by his heartbroken family as a "soft soul".

His funeral service took place in the Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Drimnagh, where Brian's brother delivered a powerful eulogy.


Michael Hamilton paid an emotional tribute to his late sibling, but also questioned how a death could happen in such circumstances.

"I just want to say something. This is Dublin 2018, not Calcutta or the Congo. A man should not be left lying dead on a chair for four-and-a-half hours," he told the congregation.

"He wasn't a dog waiting to be put to sleep. He was a human being.

"It seems to be up to us, members of the public, to notify people."

He also thanked the Simon Community for the help it had given his brother through the years, and said that the number of mourners paying their respects to Brian at the funeral showed how loved he was.

Michael ended his powerful tribute to his brother by saying he hoped he presented his loved one in a better light, and added "rest in peace bro", which was met with applause by the congregation.

Gifts were taken to the altar representing Mr Hamilton's life, including boxing gloves signifying his love for the sport in which he won two titles in his younger years.

Ireland and Manchester United soccer jerseys were also taken up, representing the teams he supported.

The chief celebrant and parish priest told mourners how Mr Hamilton was described as a "soft soul" following his death, and recalled a smiling picture of Brian used in the media coverage after his tragic passing.

"One of the gifts I got was when I saw his picture on the front of the Herald," the priest said.

"He was standing there with his lovely birthday cake, and he beamed like he owned the world. And I think that day he probably did."

A sign language interpreter was also present at the altar as Mr Hamilton was deaf, though his brother told the funeral service he didn't use a hearing aid.

The chief mourners at the funeral service were his sisters, Maria, Lorna and Paula, and his brothers Michael and Shane.

He was predeceased by his parents Michael and Bernadette. Following the funeral Mass on Mourne Road, his body was taken to Newlands Cross Cemetery for burial.

The Herald has learned that an internal review is to be carried out into the death of Mr Hamilton.


"A post-mortem was carried out earlier this week and it will be the subject of a coroner's inquest. The internal review will be undertaken by the director of quality, safety and risk management at the hospital," a spokesman for Tallaght Hospital confirmed.

Earlier this week, gardai said they were "investigating the death of a man in his 40s in the A&E department of Tallaght Hospital on Saturday afternoon".

CCTV footage shows Mr Hamilton arriving at the hospital at around 2am last Saturday morning.

His family has been told he appears to have gone to the toilet and returned to the seating area at around 4am.

However, from that point on until nearly 12 hours later, it seems nobody approached Mr Hamilton until a member of staff spotted he was dead in the chair, half slumped over, and with his arm outstretched beside him.

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