Monday 20 October 2014

Health Minister: ‘Unacceptable reports into Portlaoise babies were not shared with parents’

Published 30/01/2014 | 12:58

Roisin (40) and Mark Molly (42) lost their baby Mark, who was pronounced dead 22 minutes after his birth by emergency Caesarean section, on January 24, 2012. (Photo: RTE)
The RTE documentary will also look at several other cases of infant death, understood to have happened over a period of six to eight years. (Photo: RTE)
7/11/2007. Portlaoise Hospital. The Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise, which is at the centre of a health service scandal over the misdiagnosis of a number of women who had presented for xrays for possible breast cancer and were incorrectly given the all clear. Photo: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland.
The Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise

THE MINISTER for Health James Reilly has said the failure to share the reports into the deaths of babies in Portlaoise General Hospital is “utterly unacceptable” and has said disciplinary action may be taken.

“One of the things that struck me about this was the failure to share the reports which is utterly unacceptable,” said the Minister for Health this morning. “We need transparency.”

The broadcast by the RTE Investigations unit,  ‘Fatal Failures’, which is broadcast this evening, examines the deaths of a number of babies at the Midlands Regional Hospital in recent years.

One of the couples featured in the show are Roisin (40) and Mark Molly (42) lost their baby Mark, who was pronounced dead 22 minutes after his birth by emergency Caesarean section, on January 24, 2012.

Mark’s death is among a number of cases of infant death at Midland Regional Hospital being examined in the RTE documentary.

The Minister was speaking on Today with Sean O’Rourke and he said that it was “inexcusable” that parents were left feeling that the deaths had anything to do with them.

This morning reporter Aoife Hegarty revealed that one couple, Shauna Keyes and her partner Joey Cornally from Tullamore, Offaly were left feeling that the death of their baby Joshua in 2009 was somehow their fault after a meeting with hospital authorities.

“It is inexcusable. My sympathies are with the families.”

The Minister said that steps have been taken to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

“We have early warning scores introduced in all maternity units, foetal blood sampling – which is one of the issues here -  is in place in all maternity hospitals from January this year.”

The Minister also said that he plans a further investigation into what happened at Portlaoise Hospital.

“I have asked the Chief Medical Officer to give me a report. It won’t take long and I will take action to make sure that this never happens again. I have put great emphasis on this."

He did not rule out the prospect of disciplinary action.

“I will introduce the HSE to put a Patient Safety Champion that you go to when you believe that there are any issues which are affecting you.”

Tonight’s investigation programme highlights a number of cases of infant deaths at the Midlands Regional Hospital.

One of the couples are Roisin (40) and Mark Molloy (42) who lost their baby Mark. The little boy was pronounced dead 22 minutes after his birth by emergency Caesarean section, on January 24, 2012.

The pair were awaiting the birth of their fifth child in January 2012.

His death is among a number of cases of infant death at Midland Regional Hospital being examined in the documentary to be broadcast tonight.

The programme questions whether recommendations following previous infant deaths at the hospital have been fully implemented.

Speaking to the 'Fatal Failures' documentary, Roisin Molloy said: "Mark's death is so black and white. . . he shouldn't have died."

Last month an inquest recorded a verdict of medical misadventure in the death of her newborn baby Mark at the hospital.

The jury heard that baby Mark had died as a result of anoxia (oxygen deprivation).

Her husband also told the inquest how he was devastated at having to take the baby's body for autopsy in a taxi.

The RTE documentary will also look at several other cases of infant death, understood to have happened over a period of six to eight years.

The Molloys are not the only family to lose a child at Portlaoise General Hospital.

Another couple featured in the programme are Shauna Keyes and her partner Joey Cornally from Tullamore, Offaly.

They were expecting their first baby in 2009. Shauna went into labour in October 2009 and they also attended the Midland Regional Hospital. It was decided to perform a C-section and their son, Joshua, died shortly after childbirth.

RTE outlined in a statement yesterday that the babies involved were alive at the onset of labour but died either during the labour or within seven days of birth.

The programme explores how families were failed following the death of their babies.

The HSE last night said it was participating in the programme. But it said it would not be in a position to comment further at this stage.

It is expected to argue that Portlaoise is one of the safest hospitals in which to give birth.

Last year, the first national audit into the death of babies in the weeks before or after birth showed that perinatal mortality rates here compare very favourably with UK and European figures.

The prenatal mortality rate for 2011 was 6.1 per 1,000 births and rates have continued to decrease since then

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