Monday 23 July 2018

'A terrible succession of tragedies' - mum whose son died two days after birth settles High Court action

Sandra Cullinan outside the Coroners Court with a photo of her son Stevie Cullinan who died in Mullingar Regional Hospital aged two days old. He was named after his father who had recently passed away.
Photo: Tony Gavin
Sandra Cullinan outside the Coroners Court with a photo of her son Stevie Cullinan who died in Mullingar Regional Hospital aged two days old. He was named after his father who had recently passed away. Photo: Tony Gavin

Tim Healy

A mother whose new born son died just days after his birth at a regional hospital has settled her High Court action over his death.

Stevie Cullivan was named after his father who died following a heart attack months before his son's birth and death three years ago.

His mother, Sandra Cullivan sued the HSE for shock induced psychiatric injury she says she suffered over the death of her baby.

Ms Cullivan's counsel Oonah McCrann told the court on Tuesday  it has been a very traumatic time for the widow and mother.

The terms of the settlement are confidential.

Ms Cullivan was 36 when she went to Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar to be induced on April 28 2015.

Stevie Cullivan was born at 11.59pm, but he died two days later on April 30.

A verdict of medical misadventure was returned at the inquest in to the death of baby who suffered a lack of oxygen to the brain shortly before birth.

Outside court, in a statement, Ms Cullivan said it had been a very long and hard road to get answers.

"Stevie had only two days in this world. No words can express my grief but with the help of my legal team I got answers," she said.

She added: I would encourage all women and families to insist on answers and not be afraid to to get help in asking tough questions."

The Midland Regional, through its general manager Shona Schneemann,  apologised to Ms Cullivan by letter  and offered sincere and deepest sympathy on the sad loss of Stevie.

"The hospital would like to again convey our sincere apologies for the deficits in care that were identified as part of the review that took place.

" I can confirm the recommendations outlined in the review have been fully implemented,"  Ms Schneemann said in a letter.

In her action, Ms Cullivan,  Ribbontail Way, Longwood, Co Meath,  claimed her labour was chaotic and allegedly inadequately supervised with no proper midwife assistance.

Cardiotocography (CTG) monitoring, it was alleged,  was grossly inadequate.

Signs of fetal distress in the second stage of labour iwere not identified and the baby suffered a hypoxic ischaemic insult, it was claimed.

There was also alleged sub-standard care and an alleged failure  to ensure proper midwife attendance  during the labour,

 There was also alleged failure to have in place continuous CTG monitoring.

Liability was admitted in the case.

Ms Cullivan, whose husband Stevie had died in December 2014, was admitted to Midland Regional  on April 28, 2015 with her mother by her side as her birth partner.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross offered his sympathy to Ms Cullivan on her "terrible succession of tragedies."

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