Wednesday 7 December 2016

Brave mother's story sparked national outrage

Fiach Kelly

Published 12/10/2010 | 05:00

ONE family brought an issue that had affected many to national attention.

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When Melissa Redmond and her husband Michael told the story about how they had nearly lost their unborn son because of a miscarriage misdiagnosis, it sparked a wave of outrage across political and medical fields and forced the HSE into changing its standards and practices.

Ms Redmond was wrongly told by Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda that she had miscarried her unborn baby Michael.

The near-fatal blunder was caused by shoddy work practices and out-of-date equipment which was still in use six months after the shocking incident.

Ms Redmond, from Donabate in north Dublin, presented herself to the early pregnancy unit for an internal scan eight weeks into her pregnancy on July 22 last year.

She was anxious to get an early scan as she had previously suffered four miscarriages but was devastated to be told she had miscarried again. She and her husband Michael took the painful decision to have a D&C procedure to have their "dead" child removed.

The operation was scheduled for two days later. Ms Redmond was also given the abortive drug, Cytotec, to take on the morning of the operation.

However, the then mother of two sensed something was not right and decided to visit her local GP to seek a second opinion. A heartbeat showed up on the external scan, confirming their baby was still alive.

Their son and third child, also called Michael, was born on March 6 this year.

"If this was my first pregnancy, I wouldn't have known any different. I would have just went with what they said. The only reason I questioned it is because it wasn't my first pregnancy and because I've had miscarriages as well that I knew the feeling.

"I knew to trust my own instincts and my own body," Ms Redmond told the Irish Independent at the time.

Ms Redmond decided to go public with her story in June to encourage women in similar situations to get a second opinion if they had any doubts. But both she and her husband also wanted to highlight the shocking hospital mistakes and faulty equipment that led to the misdiagnosis.

Within days, scores more women went public -- including Martha O'Neill Brennan from Athenry, Co Galway, who was wrongly told she had miscarried her son Aaron; and Elaine Cunningham, from Ardrahan, Co Galway, who received similar advice.

HSE helplines were flooded with calls from worried women who had similar experiences.

Irish Independent

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