THE Louth County Hospital has been stripped of yet another long-standing service following the transfer of post mortems to Drogheda on Monday.
Post mortems, which are carried out to determine the cause and manner of death, were a regular occurance in Dundalk over the years but all such procedures will now take place at the new mortuary at Cross Lanes car park in Drogheda.
From July last year to May, 134 post mortems were held in Dundalk. Of those, 49 were from the Louth County Hospital and 85 were form Our Lady of Lourdes.
Save Our Hospital Services committee chairman Cllr Tomás Sharkey has criticised the decision to remove the service from Dundalk and expressed his fear about a possible knock-on effect on other services.
“Of the 134 post mortems held in Dundalk, 49 of those were from the Louth County, which is a high figure considering the accident and emergency department has been gone since last July.
“Post mortems are only carried out on unexplained deaths, which suggests that a lot of those could be suicides.
“This could have a major knock-on effect on staff from the anatomical technicians to clerical staff and porters. Those jobs are now under threat and I’m also worried that it may have other knock on effects as if there’s no pathology presence in the hospital then it could also undermine lab services.”
Cllr Sharkey also said that the moving of the post mortem service would also mean that no IDing will now take place in Dundalk, with relatives and friends having to travel to Drogheda to identify bodies.