HSE's culture of containment
When should an apology not be accepted? Joan and John Mulcair only received "sincere apologies" from the HSE and the chief executive of Limerick University hospitals group more than six years after their baby Caoimhe died, living just 39 minutes on February 11, 2009. The City Court coroner's verdict of 'medical misadventure' compelled the State to offer it act of contrition. Tragically, the baby was starved of oxygen during the latter hours of labour; critical traces of her heartbeat weren't properly assessed.
The Mulcairs commissioned a British consultant obstetrician to do an independent report. The systemic procedures adopted by the HSE and State Claims Agency for extreme incidents of patient safety are obscure. There were 67 cases last year. In cases where there's a permanent incapacity or death in maternity hospital procedures need to be looked at.
The defensive mechanisms often adopted are inhumane and insensitive. The result is that families are compelled to take legal cases, running up costs and settlements to taxpayers.