An inquest has been held into the death of an 87 year old man who drowned after leaving Killybegs Community Hospital on January 22nd last
The coronor stressed that no staff were to blame, because the hospital wasn’t a closed unit, and the patient, Paddy Keeney, had exercised his option to go out.
The inquest was told how Mr Keeney went missing from the hospital, and although a search was launched, he was later found drowned.
Coroner Dr Diarmuid Hegarty was told at the Donegal town hearing that local CCTV footage showed Mr Keeney levering himself on to a pier wall with his walking stick in Killybegs at 10.59 am, shortly after he disappeared from the hospital.
The same footage four minutes later showed that he was gone from the wall.
Killybegs Coast Guard lifeboat crew member Damian McIntyre told of joining a search and first fetching the body of a fisherman Michael McIntyre from the water although he wasn’t reported missing.
Some hours later they found Mr Keeney’s body in the water at nearby Townasligo, Bruckless.
Dr Hegarty said the evidence before him showed that patients had the right of access into and out of the Community Hospital, and there was no implication of neglect of lack of care on anyone’s part.
The coroner said that Mr Keeney, who was from Killybegs and was a patient in the hospital for 11 years, had exercised his option to go out.
Dr Hegarty added that it appeared as if Mr Keeney certainly knew what he was doing.
The jury returned a verdict of suicide