Sunday 22 October 2017

Baby inquest: Mother ‘wasn’t told’ about serious infection

Oisin Clancy died just eight days after he was born

Catherine and David Clancy at the Coroner's court in Galway
Catherine and David Clancy at the Coroner's court in Galway
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

THE MOTHER of a week-old baby has told his inquest how she was never made aware that she had developed a serious infection - which can result in meningitis in babies - because the results were never passed on from her GP’s surgery.

Catherine Clancy was speaking at the inquest into the death of her baby son Oisin who died just eight days after he was born. He died from meningitis brought on by Group A Streptococcus on January 7 2012. He had been delivered on December 31, December 2011.

Mrs Clancy from Ballybawn in Headford Co Galway  told how she had had a very good pregnancy and been in excellent health with an exception of a head cold in the days before the birth.

Mrs Clancy  gave evidence that on November 30 she was swabbed for a Strep B infection on the advice of her GP Dr Grace Doyle. However, she never received the results. The results were downloaded by Dr Niamh O'Brien at the surgery on December 5. Dr Doyle said it would be normal practice for patients to be made aware of a positive result with a phonecall, however, that did not occur in this case.  She added that the GP surgery would also alert the obstetrician but that did not happen in this case.

"Yes because the labour ward staff need to know. It is imperative that they know," she added.

Mrs Clancy only became aware that she had the infection hours after her son was born when a nurse told her but informed her it affected one in four women and was nothing to worry about. She was never told that it could cause possible meningitis in babies.

She accepted that her son had died as a result of a Step A infection and not a Strep B infection which she had developed. However, she told the inquest that had she been told her infection could cause meningitis she would have been on high alert and brought Oisin straight to A&E after he stopped feeding on January 6.

The inquest heard that when Oisin stopped feeding the couple repeatedly phoned WestDoc but they were told Oisin probably had colic and not to bring him in.

Oisin's father David Clancy gave evidence that he rang WestDoc up to eight times to no avail on January 6. On the final call at around 7am they decided they would bring Oisin in regardless of the doctor's view.

"They basically said there are no symptoms here that would suggest that he needs to see a doctor. But I pretty much insisted," he told the court.

After seeing the doctor, baby Oisin was given a suppository and sent home. Hours later the baby went limp and was barely breathing. He was rushed to Galway University Hospital and taken to the Intensive Care Unit. He did not respond to antibiotics and died on January 7.

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