Sunday 16 December 2018

'Mammy I can't do this anymore' - inquest told of daughter's plea

Student Jessica Bingham
Student Jessica Bingham

A student with spina bifida who developed difficulty breathing while being hoisted from her bed to a wheelchair, died a week later, an inquest heard.

Jessica Bingham (21) of Ballyogan Crescent in Leopardstown, Dublin 18 died on December 10, 2014.

Dublin Coroner's Court heard details of the care of the young woman in her home by a nurse and two care assistants on the morning of December 3, 2014.


Carers operated a hoist in her bedroom to move Miss Bingham from her bed to her wheelchair. She had been showered and dressed by care staff on that morning when her mother, Lisa Algen, said she found her in distress in her hoist.

Ms Algen told the hearing that Jessica had been "blooming" in recent months and had a busy life, attending college and visiting local schools as a disability advocate.

"Jessica grabbed life by both hands. She was attending college and she visited local schools to give talks on disability to transition year students," Ms Algen said.

She went on to say that she went into her daughter's bedroom around 9.40am on December 3 to get a hairbrush.

"The carer was fumbling with the wheelchair, Jessica was in her hoist. She was in the foetal position. I could see her face going purple," Ms Algen said.

She told Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane that she knew her child was in deep distress.

"I tried to lower the hoist to release her from the foetal position. She took my hand and held it tightly and she said, 'Mammy I can't do this anymore'.

"It was like she was saying goodbye. She held my hand real tight and then her eyes went back in her head," Ms Algen added.


Miss Bingham was lowered into her wheelchair where efforts were made to administer chest compressions and she was later moved to the floor where this continued. She was rushed to St Vincent's Hospital where she died one week later.

The inquest heard Miss Bingham had a background of spina bifida from birth and had been hospitalised with obesity hypoventilation syndrome in 2012. She used a breathing aid to help deliver oxygen to her body.

Following her discharge from St Columcille's Hospital in Loughlinstown in June 2012, her care was managed by a home care package through Leopardstown Primary Care Centre.

She had a body mass index of 52.7 which compromised her breathing, the inquest heard. Her mother said her weight issues were not related to food but fluid retention and mobility.

One of two carers at her home that morning said she had received training in the use of the sling and hoist. She said the piece of equipment required two people to operate it.

The inquest heard that there was only one carer in the room operating the hoist when the incident happened.

One carer had departed earlier as scheduled and the nurse was outside disposing of dressings in a bin.

Further witnesses due to attend the inquest include the carer who was in the room with Miss Bingham, a neighbour, occupational therapist and a manual-handling trainer.

The inquest was adjourned.

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