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Tracy says she feels vindicated

By Francesca Ryan

The mother of a West Belfast man who died in the Belfast City Hospital last year says she feels vindicated that the PSNI are investigating his death.

Sean Paul Carnahan passed away last July, five months after he tried to take his own life while under the influence of a legal high.

As we reported last year, the Beechmount lad had suffered serious brain injuries in the incident and then developed a number of infections and became malnourished during his stay at the City Hospital.

The 22-year-old’s mother Tracy had spent everyday by her son’s side, willing him to recover. Several times last year, Tracy had contacted the Andersonstown News to express her concern that her son was “wasting away” in the hospital. The mother-of-six says she was left emotionally depleted and utterly confused following a string of major ups and downs in the treatment of her son, who sadly passed away in July.

At a preliminary inquest hearing into his death last Friday at Belfast Coroner’s Court, it emerged Tracy has made a complaint to the police about his care. During the hearing, the coroner queried whether Tracy’s allegation of neglect constituted one of alleged corporate manslaughter. Aiden Carlin, Tracy’s solicitor, and the solicitor for the Belfast Trust agreed that it did. Any inquest must now await the outcome of the police investigation.

Speaking to the Andersonstown News this week, Tracy insists her son “died of starvation” rather than a brain injury.

“I thought when I put my child into the Trust’s care, he would be there to get better, not to be basically starved to death,” she said.

“I had to watch my child die – waste away in front of my eyes and when he died he was six foot and five stone. I am traumatised by it.

“Throughout Sean Paul’s stay in the hospital and right up until now I was made to feel like we were worthless, like he, his life was worthless.

“I have known what happened to Sean Paul all this time, I was there and saw him wasting away everyday and now I just want answers.

“As much as I knew what was happening, I am convinced others knew too. I believe they gave up on him in that hospital and I want to know why. This is not down to one person but a whole team of people, that’s what I find incredible.

“I am glad progress is being made and the PSNI are investigating because a mother’s instinct is always right and people knew I was right all along, now I want that truth to come out. I have had my fill of the neglect and the lies, now I want what I know happened to be told and recorded.”

Tracy’s solicitor Aiden Carlin told the Andersonstown News he is greatly encouraged by the coronor’s comments and how seriously he is taking it.

A spokeswoman for the Belfast Trust said they could not comment during the legal process.

“We offer our sincere sympathy to the Carnahan family on the death of Sean Paul,” she said.

“However it is inappropriate for the Trust to make any comment while there is an ongoing legal process.”

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