Tuesday 23 July 2019

'His death was so avoidable, I prayed he would be okay' - mum on death of her son just four days after birth

Brenda and Michael Ryan with their son Danny
Brenda and Michael Ryan with their son Danny
Brenda and Michael Ryan with their son Danny
Bereaved: Brenda and Michael Ryan, outside Dublin Coroners Court, had only four days with their infant son Danny. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Gabija Gataveckaite

A MOTHER who lost her baby just four after he was born has praised coroner court findings and said that she prayed for her son every day.

Brenda and Michael Ryan lost their first child Danny Ryan just four days after birth after a harrowing labour experience in the Our Lady of Lourde’s Hospital in Drogheda.

At an inquest into their child’s death last Wednesday, the couple from Allenstown in Kells, Co Meath, heard that new guidelines have been introduced after Danny’s death in the hospital.

Speaking to Independent.ie, Ms Ryan explained that she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes during the pregnancy and had scans at 28, 32 and 36 weeks and there were no concerns about the baby's growth.

She said that Danny was a very calm and peaceful baby during the pregnancy.

“I know that my son was absolutely fine before that, he was so gentle and kind,” she said.

“His death was so avoidable.”

A week after her due date, Ms Ryan was unsuccessfully induced on October 15 2017.

“We were angsty to have the baby,” she remembered.

“We were sitting around in the hospital, we were calm and relaxed. When you’re pregnant, you’re always very worried that you’re going to bleed or that something is going to happen, but we were in hospital so we felt like we were in the safest place.”

The next day, her water broke and she went into excruciating pain and repeatedly asked for help from nurses, only to be told that she wasn't in labour.

Ms Ryan was then told to take a bath and she said that the bath water went cold twice. As she was in a bathroom away from the nurses with her husband, she said that she felt she was ‘out of sight and out of mind’ for the hospital staff.

“We were completely abandoned, we were completely helpless,” she said.

Later on that night, baby Danny was delivered via emergency C-section after a low heartbeat was detected.

Danny wasn't breathing and was transferred to the Rotunda Hospital.

brenda ryan2.jpg

His dad Michael got to see his son for the first time three hours later and Ms Ryan got to see her son right as he was being taken to Rotunda Hospital in an incubator.

“I remember seeing him and he was so gorgeous, a gorgeous little thing,” she said.

At this time, the new parents were still unaware that their child had suffered serious complications and would not survive past several days.

“It was only when they explained what was going on, that they had stabilised the heartbeat, and we got him christened,” she said.

“I’m not very religious but I prayed every day that he would be okay,” Ms Ryan added.

“I remember them telling me the news and a nurse was crying in the room - I thought, why is she crying? Why isn’t she trying to help us?”

brenda ryan4.jpg
Brenda and Michael Ryan with their son Danny

Little Danny passed away four days later on October 20 2017.

Ms Ryan praised all of the hospital staff in the Rotunda Hospital for their care and compassion.

“The doctors and nurses all chatted to us and the way they spoke to us, they’re absolute heroes,” she said.

brenda ryan3.jpg

It was for this reason that Mr and Mrs Ryan decided to return to the Rotunda Hospital to have their second child, who was born last year.

“It was extremely scary going back to the same place where we lost our baby but the staff remembered us and remembered that we donated Danny’s organs,” she explained.

“I was absolutely petrified but we had somebody to talk to.

“All we got from Drogheda was a card,” she said.

At an inquest this week, Pathologist Dr Emma Doyle gave the cause of death as severe brain damage due to placental failure as a consequence of foetal vascular malperfusion.

Dr Doyle said an acute event occurred “in or around the day of the baby's delivery”.

New guidelines have been introduced since baby Danny's death, specifying that in cases of mothers with gestational diabetes, induction must take place by 40 weeks plus four days, with the aim of delivery within two days of induction.

The coroner returned a narrative verdict.

“The judge could see all of it and finally vindicated us,” Ms Ryan said.

“He finally listened to us and the coroner completely cleared any doubt on my mind,” she added.

Online Editors

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Also in this section