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Coroner's Court

DART driver passed medical two months before dying at work

Driver John O’Neill – who collapsed and died from a heart attack while driving his train – had a recent “excellent” medical.

A DART DRIVER who collapsed and died while driving his train last December had passed a medical exam with an “excellent” electrocardiograph result in the months before he died, an inquest has heard.

John O’Neill, 50, of Collins Avenue in Whitehall was pulling his train into the station at Dún Laoghaire on December 22 last year when he began to suffer from chest pains.

He collapsed at the station, the Irish Daily Star reports, and was then rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

A known smoker, O’Neill had a history of heart disease – and a post-mortem exam showed that he had a massive 95 per cent blockage in one of his main coronary arteries.

This was despite O’Neill taking a medical exam in October of last year – when he took an ECG exam that showed an “excellent result”.

Coroner Dr Kieran Geraghty cast doubt on the reliability of the test, but Iarnród Éireann’s chief medical officer Dr Declan Whelan said O’Neill had six-monthly exams which including cholesterol and ECG tests, “above and beyond” the usual tests given to drivers.

The coroner recorded a death by misadventure.

DART trains are fitted with a pedal which automatically stops the train if the driver does not press it regularly, so as to halt any trains where the driver has become incapacitated.

Read more in today’s Irish Daily Star >

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