A PREGNANT woman whose unborn baby was fatally injured in a car crash was told by a doctor at the Coombe Hospital she should transfer to a maternity hospital by taxi, an inquest heard.
Peace Amewoyi, from Deerpark Place in Tallaght, Dublin 24, was 33 weeks pregnant with her third child, Baby Joseph Agbo, when she suffered arm and leg injuries in the crash on October 21 last year.
Baby Joseph suffered "devastating" head injuries in the incident and died later that evening an hour after being born by emergency Caesarean section.
Dublin Coroner's Court heard that Ms Amewoyi had been driving to church with five children in the car when it suddenly accelerated as they approached the Whitestown Way roundabout in Tallaght and crashed into a metal barrier. One of the children was seriously injured but has since recovered.
Ms Amewoyi was taken to St James's Hospital where she was treated for a fractured left hand. Doctors were also concerned that she may have fractured her knee.
She was transferred by ambulance to the nearest maternity hospital, The Coombe, for review.
Ms Amewoyi said that she was told there that the baby was doing well and that she should go by taxi to the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, where she was already registered, because an ambulance would take too long.
She said she protested because her leg was painful and she was unable to walk.
Dr Nicola Maher, then obstetrics registrar at The Coombe, said she was unaware Ms Amewoyi was unable to walk when she suggested the taxi.
A scan and ultrasound showed no evidence of a placental abruption and she had no concerns about the baby's well-being at that stage, she said.
However, further observation was warranted and, as Ms Ameyowi was a patient at Holles Street, she felt it best to transfer her, with a taxi being the quickest way of doing this.
"That would be a common mode of transport that we would use between hospital transfer," Dr Maher said.
"However, it would have been a taxi that we arranged and she would have travelled in the company of a midwife. When I suggested a taxi, the midwife on duty, who was more aware of her knee injury, said that she would be unable to bear weight and an ambulance was called."
Shortly after Ms Amewoyi arrived at Holles Street, the baby was found to have developed a slow heartbeat and the Caesarean section was carried out. However, the baby was pronounced dead an hour after birth.
At the post-mortem examination, pathologist Dr Paul Downey found that Baby Joseph sustained "devastating brain injuries" in the crash. Even if the baby had been delivered earlier, he would have been born in the same condition, he said.
The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.