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The judge is asking for more time to complete the report into the death of Aoife Johnston, 16, at University Hospital Limerick

Aoife, 16, from Shannon, Co Clare, waited 12 hours for treatment for sepsis in the hospital’s overcrowded and understaffed accident and emergency department. She died two days later, on December 19, 2022.

According to an internal HSE report, former chief justice Frank Clarke was asked to investigate the circumstances of her death last December.

He had eight weeks to submit a report to HSE boss Bernard Gloster.

However, sources said he has asked for more time to complete his work. An inquest into Aoife’s death, which was due to take place next month, is expected to be adjourned until his final inquest report.

A source said the family wanted all information about Aoife’s death to be available to them and the coroner for the inquest, which is expected to last at least two days.

The internal HSE review, which was marred by delays and was finally presented to her family last December, uncovered failings and missed opportunities in her care as she waited hours for treatment in the chronically overcrowded emergency department.

After details from the HSE internal review were published in the Sunday independentMr Gloster ordered an external investigation led by Mr Justice Clarke.

Since his investigation began, two more patients have died at UHL.

A second 16-year-old, Niamh McNally from Bruff, County Limerick, died suddenly in the emergency department on January 29 from breathing difficulties.

She initially spent two weeks in hospital with a severe respiratory infection and was discharged on January 23rd.

She was readmitted to UHL on January 29, but collapsed in the emergency room and died. A preliminary report into the circumstances of Niamh’s death has been completed and given to her family, a source said.

The HSE said this weekend that the Regional Executive Officer is reviewing all available information to decide whether a system analysis review is required. Any further decisions will be communicated to the family in due course.

​A 33-year-old woman died suddenly on February 18, four days after she was admitted to the hospital because she felt unwell during her pregnancy.

She was transferred from the maternity hospital to UHL, where her condition deteriorated and she died.

An investigation into her sudden death is ongoing. The hospital said it was reviewing the circumstances and the results of the review would “incorporate any future actions.”

UHL has come under political and public pressure due to persistent overcrowding in the emergency department and patient safety issues.

The hospital’s emergency department is the only one in the Midwest and its catchment area includes Limerick, Cork and Kerry.

Activists have called for emergency departments in smaller hospitals to be reopened to ease overcrowding in Limerick.

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