Saturday 27 December 2014

Prime Time reveals details of fifth baby death at Portlaoise Hospital

Emma Jane Hade

Published 03/04/2014 | 23:53

Amy Delahunt and Ollie Kelly parents of Mary Kate who died in May 2013 at Portlaoise Hospital. Credit: RTE

A REVIEW of the care given to a pregnant woman has been launched after the baby died in the mother’s womb.

Baby Mary Kate died in her mother’s womb just hours after she was discharged from a maternity unit in Portlaoise Hospital last May.

The couple just recently learned that their infant was the fifth baby to die after failures of care at the maternity services.

Last January it was revealed by RTE about the tragic deaths of four babies at the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise - and now a fifth couple have come forward with their story. The Chief Medical Officer published a damning report which found the maternity unit unsafe and a HIQA investigation is now underway at the hospital.

Amy Delahunt and Ollie Kelly from Borrisoleigh, Co Tipperary, were overjoyed when they discovered they were expecting a baby in December 2012, and said that the pregnancy was the “happiest time of our lives”.

However, after she stopped moving they went to Portlaoise Hospital for a checkup, where a CTG machine monitored her heartrate.

The couple were sent home but the next day they went to Limerick for a routine appointment where they were told their baby was dead.

Mary-Kate was delivered to the couple on May 28, and they then took her home for two days.

The couple began to ask questions and first had a meeting with their consultant in Limerick last September, who had advised the team in the Midland’s hospital that she wasn’t happy with the CTG.

“She said that if she had seen me on the day… that she wouldn’t have let me leave the hospital,” Amy said.

The couple then sought an independent report from an expert in the UK who advised that the CTG tracings proved that the baby was “highly likely to be compromised” and needed to be delivered on that day.

The couple recorded the conversation with the hospital representatives in Portlaoise, who admitted that there was an “abnormality” which was not acted upon.

However, the hospital failed to mention the other investigations into unexplained deaths at the maternity unit which were being carried out.

It was only in January of this year, when the couple learned of the four other deaths of the midland’s maternity unit.

The couple received information via a Freedom of Information request just three weeks ago, and were horrified to learn that the report identified a number of care management problems, including the inability to read a CTG correctly.

Prime Time’s Investigations Unit asked the HSE why during a meeting in December, doctors did not question if Amy had discharged herself. The HSE responded, saying that the family “should have been consulted and involved in any review of what happened.”

“The review process (in relation to Amy and Ollie’s case) was inadequate...an independent review will be commenced shortly with appropriate input from the family,” the HSE added.

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