Serious incidents in the country's hospitals
Standards of maternity care in Ireland have come under scrutiny in the wake of Hiqa’s damning report on Portlaoise.
The HSE is currently investigating 49 serious incidents but won’t identify the hospitals involved. We have compiled a list of serious incidents in the country’s 19 maternity units that are already in the public domain.
Dublin - National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street
The large Dublin hospital said it reviews five to eight serious adverse events each year and said that five reviews are currently ongoing.
One of Ireland’s largest maternity hospitals and the only one to release details of the 10 “full adverse incident reviews” it has held since 2013. They include three baby deaths and two maternal deaths since 2013, three cases of neonatal encephalopathy, two cases of massive haemorrhage and one still birth, since 2013.
Mullingar - Midlands Regional Hospital
Investigation launched into a baby born last August and transferred to the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin where it died days later in the neonatal unit.
Portlaoise - Midland Regional Hospital
Five babies died in a six-year period and the deaths of three more babies are currently being reviewed. A damning report by the health watchdog, Hiqa, published last week, concluded that the health service put finances before patient safety.
Drogheda - Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital
Nine years after baby Shane McArdle died after he was delivered in the breech position, another baby died at the hospital in 2013 after its breech position went undetected. In 2014, parents complained about two “serious incidents” involving undetected breech births. A subsequent internal audit found that 21 breech births went undiagnosed over a two-year period. This was also the hospital where the obstetrician, Michael Neary, unnecessarily removed the wombs of scores of women and where Tania McCabe died from sepsis after giving birth in 2007, as did one of her infant twin sons.
Cavan - Cavan General Hospital
Four babies have died in two-and-ahalf years, one in November 2012 and two more infants died last April. A fourth newborn baby died last Tuesday, at a time when six “adverse incidents” were under review.
Kerry - Kerry General Hospital, Tralee
Three-year-old Skye Worthington secured a €2.5m-plus settlement because of brain damage caused at her birth in the hospital, relating to the use of oxytocin.
Sligo - Sligo Regional Hospital
Sally Rowlette died in the hospital in 2013, a day after giving birth to her child. Her inquest heard evidence she was a victim of “broad systems failure”. The hospital apologised and reassured patients that maternity and ICU services have improved.
Galway - Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe
Two babies died and five others suffered from oxygen deficiency at birth in 2014. An independent inquiry is now investigating 12 births over a six-year period.
Galway University Hospital
Savita Halappanavar died of blood poisoning in 2012, while suffering a miscarriage. Her treatment by staff was later criticised following an investigation by the health watchdog.
Tipperary - South Tipperary General Hospital
Baby boy left brain damaged, allegedly because his doctor failed to order cooling treatment after the baby’s birth in 2012. The doctor is facing professional standards inquiry by the Medical Council and denies any lapse in appropriate standards.