Inquest hears of tragic death

Coroner’s court. Allergic reaction was ’likely cause’

The inquest into the death of an elderly man who suffered what was thought to be an allergic reaction to an antibiotic has been adjourned.

James Hanley, 78, from Templeogue in south Dublin had developed an abscess and was booked in for an extraction on 12 September last year. Specialist oral surgeon Andrew Norris of the Beacon Dental Clinic had ascertained that the deceased was not allergic to penicillin and had no other known allergies prior to the treatment.

Mr Norris told the court that he had advised an antibiotic be administered at the time of the extraction along with intravenous sedation. Mr Hanley was reportedly “well but anxious” prior to the treatment and Mr Norris explained that he was discussing the Rugby World Cup with the patient while he was administering Amoxil intravenously.

He told the court: “He was alert and orientated during all of this. He then complained very clearly that ’my throat is burning, my neck is on fire, my throat’ and he clasped his lower neck and upper chest with his left hand.”

Along with a GP colleague, Mr Norris carried out CPR and administered adrenalin in order to revive Mr Hanley. Tragically, he was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at St Vincent’s Hospital.

Pathologist Dr Sarah Cross gave the likely cause of death as anaphylaxis, however, she told the court that technical problems at Beaumont Hospital meant that the definitive test for the allergic reaction could not be carried out. Mr Hanley also had significant heart disease and it was not possible to rule this out as a cause of death.

As a result, Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said that he was unable to give a cause of death and adjourned the inquest in order for further expert opinions to be sought. The inquest will be resumed on 31 July.