14 Aug 2022

Community devastated over tragic death of young mum

A community has been left devastated by the shock death of a kind, young mother-of-two, who died suddenly on Monday.

A community has been left devastated by the shock death of a kind, young mother-of-two, who died suddenly on Monday.

Traci Saunders (30), a staff nurse in St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny was six months pregnant with her third child when she suffered a fatal embolism on Monday morning. She died that evening surrounded by close family members and friends in St Luke’s Hospital.

Her husband Michael, a popular local electrician, has been left numb with grief following the tragedy. The couple had recently built their own house in Coolagh, in which to raise their new young family.

As well as coping with his own anguish, Michael is now attempting to help his two young children come to terms with the loss of their mother. Jenny (5) and Michael (3) were both extremely attached to Traci – who in turn was very close to her own parents Michael and Catherine, and brother Darren, who remain inconsolable.

In Callan and the surrounding community, there is a sense of absolute disbelief.

The tragedy unfolded in less than 24 hours, but by yesterday afternoon, word quickly spread that the popular mother-of-two had suddenly become critically ill.

Traci had awoken on Monday morning, and put on her uniform for work when she became unwell. Within hours, she was in a coma and on a life-support machine at St Luke’s Hospital – her place of work.

Tended to by her own tearful colleagues, she was in the best of care. However, medical opinion gave her and her unborn child no real chance of recovery.

At 8pm on Monday evening, the decision was made to switch off her life-support machine.

Traci’s death has left her relatives and friends asking questions to which there are no real answers. The tragedy, a shock medical aberration, has taken the life of a much-loved young woman, and leaves a family and a community beset by grief.

A past pupil of St Brigid’s in Callan, Traci Saunders (nee O’ Sullivan) graduated in 1999. She then studied at Thames Valley University in London, before working as a nurse at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

On her return home to Kilkenny, she became a staff nurse at St Luke’s Hospital, where she was a diligent carer and popular team member. She will be lovingly remembered by her family, colleagues and many friends.

Removal takes place tomorrow (Thursday) morning to Church of Our Lady Coolagh for requiem mass at 12pm, with burial immediately afterwards in Kilbride Cemetery. The house is strictly private on Thursday morning. There will be a rosary this evening (Wednesday) at 9pm at her residence.

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