Saturday 1 October 2016

Heartbroken parents of baby who died after contracting MRSA want 'lessons to be learned'

Lesley-Anne McKeown

Published 05/07/2016 | 08:00

Baby Shea Morrissey who died after contracting MRSA at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. He was aged just four weeks and five days. Photo: Family Handout/PA Wire
Baby Shea Morrissey who died after contracting MRSA at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. He was aged just four weeks and five days. Photo: Family Handout/PA Wire

The heartbroken parents of a baby who died after contracting MRSA have said they hope no other family will have to endure their pain.

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Shea Morrissey, from Shore Road in Newtownabbey, died suddenly last November at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

He was aged just four weeks and five days.

At a preliminary inquest hearing, his father Sam Morrissey said the deadly virus had not been picked up even though concerns were raised.

At the court in Laganside House he said: "The hospital did not pick up on the infection. We brought him to the doctors and they did not pick up on it.

"Is somebody at fault? I think there should be a bit of justice."

Mr Morrissey stressed he was not seeking to apportion blame but hoped lessons could be learned.

"I would not want this to happen to any other family. It is a tragedy," he added.

The infection, known as Staphylococcus Aureus, was detected under a microscope during a post mortem examination, the court heard.

But, the bereaved family were not made aware of the development until they attended a preliminary hearing in May.

Louise Lynn, the baby's mother, said: "Until then we had been told Shea had died a cot death. We were not aware of any infection at all."

Coroner Joe McCrisken said he was "unhappy" with the situation and said the family should have been talked through a post mortem report by a paediatric pathologist, or family liaison officer from the police or coroners service.

"You should have been taken through that report in a supported setting," the coroner said. "It is something I am now involved in and I will make sure it never happens.

"I do not want to be sitting here with parents who have never seen a post mortem report."

The coroner said he intended to list the inquest as soon as possible.

Speaking afterwards, Ms Lynn said she was upset at the manner in which the family learned about the MRSA infection.

"We had seven months to come to terms with what we thought was a cot death," she said.

"Then we were told in a room full of strangers that he had MRSA and we have to start all over again. I don't want any other family to have to go through this."

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