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Saturday 20 September 2014

Death of baby in Portlaoise 'due to a stillbirth'

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

Published 12/03/2014 | 02:30

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The Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise. Photo: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland.
The Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise. Photo: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland.

THE death of a baby in Portlaoise hospital in recent days is understood to be due to a stillbirth, the Irish Independent has learned.

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The baby, who was pronounced dead at the hospital's maternity unit on Saturday, had already died in the mother's womb before she was admitted to the hospital.

There was no foetal heartbeat when the mother arrived and was examined by staff at the maternity unit, which has been at the centre of controversy over its standards of patient care.

Around 350 women suffer a stillbirth in Ireland every year and a large proportion happen to otherwise healthy babies with no obvious cause.

Many stillbirths are linked to problems with the placenta, which links the baby's blood supply to the mother's.

The coroner ordered a post-mortem on the baby to determine the cause of death. A spokeswoman for the HSE yesterday declined to release the results of the post-mortem.

She said: "The results of the post-mortem will in the first instance be a matter for the family and coroner."

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The woman's ante-natal care during her pregnancy is expected to be part of a full report to be given to the HSE as well as the Health Information and Quality Authority, which is to carry out a full investigation of the standards of care across the whole hospital.

Meanwhile, the first study of the impact of stillbirths on Irish obstetricians has found that dealing with these tragedies is among the most difficult part of their job.

They can experience feelings of loss, fear, remorse, sadness, discomfort and anger, according to the study.

This study was carried out by Daniel Nuzum and Dr Keelin O'Donoghue in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in University College Cork.

Every consultant displayed a high level of awareness to the devastating impact of stillbirth and perinatal bereavement for parents, said the findings in the 'International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology'.

The consultants who took part in the study said they had not received any specialist training in perinatal bereavement care. All of them learned on the job or from senior colleagues.

But the lack of support structures to discuss the impact of stillbirth was clearly evident.

Following on from the results of the study, a local course on bereavement training has been scheduled at Cork University Maternity Hospital.

Irish Independent

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