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Sunday 25 June 2017

'Trust yourself and ask for a second opinion -- I did'

Barry Duggan

ONE of the mothers who was wrongly told her unborn child was dead urged other expectant women to trust their instincts.

Martha O'Neill Brennan, who is now pregnant with her fifth child, could have lost her son Aaron if she had not insisted on a second scan.

She was wrongly told at Galway University Hospital that she had lost her baby and was just minutes away from undergoing surgery to have the foetus removed. But at the last moment she "stuck her heels in" and insisted on the crucial second scan -- which found that her son was alive and well.

Yesterday's report does not make it mandatory for pregnant women to be given a special scan, except in specific circumstances.

At home in Athenry, Co Galway, last night, having received a copy of the report by courier, she said: "I am very disappointed by it all. Future mothers and women have been let down by this."

With her son Aaron (4) by her side, she recalled the experience she went through when she was informed that he was dead in the womb. "Not everybody is as confident or as assertive to ask for the second scan. I had to challenge the medical system," she said.

"I stuck my heels in. They told me at the time that I was going to miss my slot in theatre. I had to hold firm and demand the second scan."

Ms O'Neill Brennan, who is married to Enda, has four sons -- Joshua (8), Noah (6), Lucca (18 months) and Aaron.

She encouraged all expectant mothers to follow their instincts.

"Ask for a second opinion. Do what you feel is right by you. It is your body and your baby. You need to give the unborn baby the best chance of survival," she said.

"On the day you are told you have a miscarriage, you are very down.

"You mightn't have the strength to ask for a second scan. Luckily I did.

"The second scan should be mandatory for all."

The report states that second ultra sound examination will be performed if the initial examination is performed out of hours, if the initial examination is performed by a trainee doctor, or where the scan was performed by a person working on their own.

Irish Independent

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