Sunday 18 February 2018

Doctors defend treatment of tragic Aibha (6), inquest hears

Kathleen and John Conroy with their daughter Sorcha
Kathleen and John Conroy with their daughter Sorcha
Aibhe Conroy, who died in hospital aged six in 2011

Liz Farsaci

Doctors have defended their treatment of six-year-old Aibha Conroy, despite concerns from her family over their daughter's medical care.

Aibha died at Temple Street Children's Hospital in Dublin on December 14, 2011. Four days previously, she had been admitted to Galway University Hospital suffering from hypoglycaemia, or low blood sugar.

Her parents Kathleen and John Conroy, from Gowla, Connemara, remained stoic throughout an emotional day at the Coroner's Court in Dublin.

Ms Conroy also continued to assert, through her solicitor Damien Tansey, that she was fully expecting a referral for Aibha to Crumlin hospital for further tests, shortly after August 24, 2011.

She believes the results could have changed the tragic outcome for her daughter.

Through Mr Tansey, the inquest also learned that the family questions the dosage of dextrose - which is key in treating hypoglycaemia - given to Aibha upon her admittance to Galway University Hospital in the early morning of December 11, 2011.

The possibility that Aibha was given the wrong dose is "troubling" to her family, according to Mr Tansey.

The cause of Aibha's respiratory arrest at 2.10am on December 11 - just an hour-and -a-half after she was admitted - remains unclear.

According to Dr Aisling Hillock, who was working as the paediatric senior house officer on call that night, Aibha was responding well to treatment and her blood sugar levels were brought back to appropriate levels.

At 2am, she vomited and started to complain of headaches. Her oxygen saturation quickly decreased and she turned blue. She then went into respiratory arrest.

Aibha's parents dispute the idea that their daughter was responding well to the dextrose. They argue that she was sluggish throughout the entire time.

They also argue that Ms Conroy had to alert Dr Hillock to the fact that Aibha was turning blue right before her arrest.

Dr Hillock emphatically disagreed with this - she said she did not need to be told that Aibha was turning blue, as she was looking at the young girl and could see for herself.

Dr Ngi Chiw Teo also gave evidence. As the registrar in paediatrics at GUH on December 11, 2011, he was the most senior doctor on the premises that night.

He said he did not provide direct care to Aibha but provided advice to Dr Hillock.

Dr Teo said that when Dr Hillock consulted him regarding the dosage of dextrose that she was planning to give to Aibha, he concurred with her.

Catherine Corbett Sheridan, a nurse at GUH, also gave evidence about August 24, 2011, the day that Aibha was discharged from one of her visits, and said she spoke with Ms Conroy that day.

Ms Sheridan knows the Conroy family, as she grew up near Ms Conroy, and attended Aibha's wake.

During his questioning, Mr Tansey told the inquest that Ms Conroy says that she was told on August 24 that Aibha needed further tests in Crumlin.

The inquest heard that Ms Conroy has said that, at the wake, Ms Sheridan asked her whether Aibha ever got the referral to Dublin.

Although Ms Sheridan said she remembered being at the wake and paying her respects to Ms Conroy, she told the inquest:"I cannot recall the specifics of any conversation from four years ago."

Irish Independent

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