Investigation to take place into 'unexpected' death of Muckamore Abbey Hospital patient
A HEALTH service investigation has been ordered into the "unexpected" death of a vulnerable Muckamore Abbey Hospital patient.
The man, who was in his early fifties, passed away on Saturday at a separate hospital after becoming ill at Muckamore the previous day.
The Belfast trust is responsible for the Co Antrim regional facility, which is at the centre of a major police investigation into alleged abuse of adult patients by staff.
In a statement, a trust spokesman confirmed a probe will take place.
He also said 83 staff have now been suspended in relation to the unprecedented abuse allegations while a further six have been sacked.
The hospital cares for adults with severe learning disabilities.
The trust spokesman said: "We are aware of the sad and unexpected death of a patient from Muckamore Abbey Hospital at the weekend.
"Our thoughts are very much with the family and we continue to offer our support at this difficult time.
"As with any unexpected death, we will investigate and follow the protocols in place."
A solicitor representing the patient's family told The Irish News she will now be writing to the coroner.
Claire McKeegan of Phoenix Law, had represented the patient in an effort to get him resettled.
"We will be writing to the coroner to seek an inquest as soon as possible and will ensure this matter is thoroughly investigated in the course of the statutory inquiry," she said.
The Muckamore allegations are at the centre of a landmark public inquiry, with public hearings due to begin in the spring.
Glynn Brown, chair of the Action For Muckamore (AFM) support group, said it was a "tragic" passing which had devastated the family.
"AFM passes on their profound condolences and love to the family at this distressing time," he said.