THE father-in-law of the late Tania McCabe has said the findings of an investigation into the care received by Savita Halappanavar has “relit the fire” following Tania’s untimely death.
“It’s as if someone has relit the fire, that’s the best way to describe it. The embers of course are always there but then this comes out,” Philip McCabe, the father of Tania’s husband Aidan, said this morning.
The similarities between the case of Savita Halappanavar and Tania McCabe, who died in at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda in March 2007 from septic shock was “probably one of the most disturbing findings” of the report, HIQA said in its report released yesterday..
“You instantly think of Tania again,” Philip McCabe told Miriam O’Callaghan on Radio One following the HIQA report.
“You’d be thinking about her and talking about her and then I suppose there were so many comparisons it was kind of scary at times as well.
“That’s the feeling... my god how could this happen again, but you know these things happen and this is it and this is where we are now.”
Tania was six months pregnant when she was admitted to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda. She was discharged from the maternity unit the next day, despite her waters breaking prematurely.
She was readmitted to the hospital less than 24 hours later when her twin boys, Zach and Adam, were born by caesarean section that night. Zach had severe congenital abnormalities and later died in his mother’s arms.
Meanwhile, Tania McCabe, who was a Garda sergeant, suffered a post-partum haemorrhage and, despite emergency surgery, she died that night after going into septic shock.
McCabe said his son Aidan received the report from HIQA early yesterday and they read it last night.
“I didn’t realise Tania was quoted so extensively in it as she is and that came to me as a shock to see that,” McCabe said.
“The similarities are absolutely unbelievable,. When I hear the word ‘sepsis’ now I just get a shiver.
“With Savita and with Tania, sepsis had passed that point of no return for them, there was nothing anyone could do at that stage. Your organs fail and that’s the end of it.
“The hospital did their best but at this stage there was no hope it had gone past the point of no return at that stage.”
McCabe praised the efficiency of the inquiry into Tania McCabe’s death which took place in December 2008.
“They did such a thorough job, such a perfect job. They hit the nail on the head with all the recommendations,” he said.
“For the most part, maternity hospitals seemed to have implemented the recommendations but it did say in the report that six or seven hospitals didn’t. For the average person that seems strange that some hospitals didn’t implement the findings of Tania’s inquiry.
“We would have assumed that what happened to Tania wouldn’t happen to anyone else again if at all possible.
“And to think that this marvellous report was set for Tania and the findings didn’t become the norm in hospitals around the country... If the recommendations brought into Drogheda had been implemented in other hospitals, I dare say by and large, you would have hoped it wouldn’t have happened again.”
Philip McCabe praised the midwives at the hospital in Drogheda and gave a special mention to the special care baby unit at both Our Lady Of Lourdes, Drogheda and Holles Street Maternity Hospital, who he said “saved the life” of Tania and Aidan’s second twin, Adam.
“Aidan said at the time that he wanted to keep Tania’s name alive. Adam was moved from Drogheda to Holles Street because the hospital in Drogheda didn’t have this special type of incubator.
“So we set up the Tania McCabe Foundation to raise funds for both hospitals.
“Tania was a tall, very elegant, really really elegant lady, beautiful personality, great bubbly person. If we had to pick someone better for Aidan we couldn’t have picked anyone else.
“To lose her the way we did, it was the last thing on our minds. There were circumstances on the night and difficulties that we went through but for her to die, I mean when Aidan told me on the phone, I was just totally gobsmacked, I couldn’t hack it at all.
“Nobody sets out to make mistakes but it’s the system that makes mistakes and it’s putting the system in place that we need to get right.”