‘She should have been saved’ – Young woman died after ‘catalogue’ of hospital failures

“Our lives will never be the same, ever. You still expect her to run in saying, ‘I'm hungry, mum’ and go out to the yard."
Michael Staines
Michael Staines

13.56 16 Feb 2024

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‘She should have been saved’ –...

‘She should have been saved’ – Young woman died after ‘catalogue’ of hospital failures

Michael Staines
Michael Staines

13.56 16 Feb 2024

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The mother of a young woman who died following a ‘catalogue of failures’ at the Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar has said she still expects her to walk in the door every day.

25-year-old Bryonny Sainsbury from Newtownforbes in County Longford died after suffering a serious brain injury when she was struck by her horse in August 2021.

She spent three days at Mullingar Hospital before being transferred to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin where she was declared brain dead.


Earlier this month the Dublin Coroner’s Court returned a verdict of medical misadventure in relation to her death.

"She would have been saved"

On The Pat Kenny Show this morning her parents Alison and Chris said hearing doctors say that “she would have been saved” if things had been done differently was like being told she was dead all over again.

“It is almost the worst thing that could have been said,” said Alison. “That she could have been saved, that she'd still be here.

“Because it's almost like being told that your daughter died again - and he never said, might have been saved, he said she would have been saved.”

The court found that Alison and Chris had raised concerns about Bryony’s condition throughout her stay in Mullingar, while also questioning why she was not being transferred to Beaumont.

Medical misadventure

Alison said staff in Mullingar consistently told her that Bryonny was ‘not bad enough’ to be transferred to Dublin, with one doctor asking her, ‘Are you questioning me?’ when she pushed the issue.

She said miscommunication between the two hospitals and between staff working in Mullingar meant that no blood tests were carried out from Friday evening until Sunday.

Meanwhile, two consultants working in Mullingar each presumed the other was responsible for her care.

Bryonny Sainsbury Bryonny Sainsbury. Image: Supplied

Chris said Bryonny had really deteriorated by the Sunday.

“The nurse couldn't get the doctors to come and she was getting more concerned about Bryonny, he said.

“Bryonny was by then pulling blankets off other people’s beds – she was disorientated. She didn’t know what she was doing.”

He said she was “rolling around the bed in agony with her head”.

“We had a job to keep her on the bed and then she would stand up, grab hold of me and bury her head in my chest and then just fall back on the bed,” he said.

“At this stage, she had no head collar on or nothing and she was rolling around the bed in agony.”

Bryonny Sainsbury Bryonny Sainsbury. Image:

Bryonny was taken down to intensive care (ICU) that afternoon.

“They decided to take her to ICU when it was too late and they had a job to keep on the bed walking down to the ICU because she was in so much pain,” said Chris.

“She was rolling around, holding her head and that's the last voice of our daughter we got – of her screaming going down to ICU.”

'It's not good news'

It was when she arrived in the ICU that doctors decided to send her to Dublin.

When Bryonny arrived at Beaumont Hospital later that day, doctors immediately told Alison and Chris that the news would not be good.

Not long later, the consultant called them into his office.

“He said, ‘It's not good news,’” said Chris.

“And we said, ‘What do you mean it’s not good?’ He said, ‘She’s brain dead, your daughter's brain dead.

“We said, ‘Well we'll take her home and look after her’ and he said, ‘No, you don't realise, she's on the machine and when that's turned off, she’ll die.’”


The couple said they now want to see repercussions.

“I mean, we've been talking about this and in any other industry they'd be struck off,” said Alison. “There'd be consequences – that's what we feel.

“But it seems, if it's something as serious as what our daughter went through and what we’re going through as a family, it's brushed under the carpet.

“There should be consequences for these people that are doing this to people.”

"I wouldn't wish it on anybody"

She said she still expects to see her daughter every day.

“Our lives will never be the same, ever,” she said.

“You still expect her to run in saying, ‘I'm hungry, mum’ and go to the yard, you know, go to the horses.

“Everything, you know, it's just hard. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.”

Chris said her death has had a huge impact on everyone who knew her.

“Her business was absolutely flying it, who knows where she would have been now, you know, and with the horses and all that, she had everything going for her,” he said.

“It should never have happened and I hope it doesn't happen to anyone else, that's for sure.”

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