Fall caused death of retired RTE librarian at her Donegal home

The inquest found that her death was caused by a fractured femur which had been followed by cardiac failure

Staff Reporter

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Fall caused death of retired Donegal librarian at her Donegal home

Dr Denis McCauley

A retired RTÉ librarian was found dead in her home at least three days after she died from a fall an inquest has heard.

Letterkenny coroner’s court heard Frances McLaughlin (72) was found dead at her home at I Harvey House in Letterkenny on January 11th last.

The inquest found that her death was caused by a fractured femur which had been followed by cardiac failure.

The coroner's court heard that she had been there for at least three days.

Sean McLaughlin, a nephew of the deceased and a member of An Garda Síochána, told the inquest that he had been informed by a colleague that there had been an incident involving his aunt.

He made his way to her home where he was met by his aunt and uncle, Paul and Veronica Trayers.

When he arrived at the scene at around 4pm he found Ms McLaughlin lyingon her back in the sitting room dressed for bed.

He said Ms McLaughlin had lived most of her adult life in Dublin where she worked for RTÉ and and had moved home about three years before her death to be close to family.

He said she had been in good health and her death was a shock to everyone who knew her.

A statement was read into the record at the inquest from Paul Trayers, a brother-in-law of the deceased, who passed away at the weekend.

The statement said he and his wife Veronica had gone to check on Frances as they had not heard from her for a number of days.

They met an employee of the letting agents at Frances's home.

They walked into the house and found Frances lying on the sitting room floor.

The statement said they had not seen Frances since December 26th when he had left her home after she had spent Christmas at their home. He said he was not aware she had been to the doctor since she had returned to Donegal.

Veronica Trayers said her sister had been in good form when she had been speaking to her earlier in the week.

Dr Katriona Dillon, consultant histopathologist at Letterkenny University Hospita,l said Ms McLaughlin had a soft tissue injury to her left hip. No alcohol or drugs were found in her system.

Dr Dillon said death was due to a fracture to the left femur and cardiac failure was a significant factor.

She said she didn't know for sure if the fall caused the cardiac failure or cardiac failure caused the fall.

She said it was very hard to say how long the death had taken place before Ms McLaughlin had been discovered.

Ms McLaughlin could have been there for at least three days or up to ten days before she was discovered, she said.

Coroner Denis McCauley returned a verdict of accidental death caused by a fracture of the left femur and cardiac arrest.