Thursday 17 January 2019

HSE offers 'sincere apologies' for failings in care of baby girl who died 11 years ago

The baby was taken to Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore
The baby was taken to Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore

Tim Healy

The HSE has apologised in the High Court for failings in relation to the care provided at Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise 11 years ago when a baby girl died.

In an apology read out in court to the parents of baby Ciara Loughlin, the HSE offered "sincere apologies for the failings in relation to the care provided at the hospital on August 21 and August 22, 2007.

The HSE also accepted  the medical records of Ciara's mother Elizabeth Loughlin were altered in relation to the timing of her admission to the hospital on August 21, 2007 and it said it regretted that.

The HSE also apologised for the distress suffered to Elizabeth and John Loughlin in respect of the death of their daugher and offered its deepest condolences.

Elizabeth and John Loughlin from Lough, Portarlinton, Co Laois today settled their action aginst the HSE for nervous shock over the death of their baby Ciara eleven years ago. The details of the settlement are confidential.

The couple had sought to discover what happened to their daughter who died after a caesearean birth after an RTE Prime Time programme about the  deaths of four babies at the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise was aired in 2014.

The Louglins' counsel Liam Reidy SC with Sheila Reidy BL told Mr Justice Kevin Cross the case had been settled and the apology was read in court as part of the settlement.

It was claimed that Mrs Loughlin went into labour at about 22.30 on August 21, 2007 and was admitted to Midland Regional Hospital and that a CTG was carried out which allegedly showed a grossly abnormal heart rate.

It was further claimed there was an alleged failure to respond to the CTG and manage or treat Mrs Loughlin adequately or appropriately in that an emergency caesarean section was not carried out until 00.25 on August 22, 2007.

Baby Ciara was delivered five minutes later and was resuscitated but she did not survive. It was alleged that Ciara's death was represented to the Loughlins as unavoidable.

The Loughlins were devastated, shocked and extremely upset by the events which had occurred but tried to get on with their lives, it was claimed.

As a result of a programme on RTE Prime Time in January 2014  entitled " Controversy at Midland General Hospital, Portlaoise" it was claimed the Loughlins wanted to discover what had happened to baby Ciara.

The Loughlins, it was claimed found the contents of the RTE programme extremely shocking and distressing and it reawoke in them all the trauma and upset they had suffered and tried to suppress.

They attended a meeting on the hospital premises in April 2014 and viewed their file and medical notes for the first time since their daughter's death.

It was claimed that at this meeting it became known to the Loughlins that their medical file or records relating to Baby Ciara had been allegedly deliberately altered  and in particular Mrs Loughlin's time of arrival at the hospital had been allegedly altered.

It was alleged the alteration was done in order to impact the Loughlins' case and to allegedly place an impediment in relation to the Loughlins' medical experts examination of the records.

The claims were denied.

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