The mother of a six-year-old girl whose cause of death is in dispute told an inquest that staff at Galway University Hospital (GUH) said her daughter would be 'okay' even as she was being transferred to Dublin on life support.
Aibha Conroy, from Gowla, Cashel in Connemara, Co Galway died at Temple Street Hospital on December 14, 2011, four days after she was admitted to GUH.
Her inquest at Dublin Coroner's Court has previously heard that Aibha was admitted to GUH repeatedly over a five year period with persistent symptoms of vomiting and dehydration but no underlying cause was ever established.
She had been transferred to Temple Street on December 11, the day after her GP referred her to A&E in GUH when she presented with a history of vomiting and headache and he found her blood sugars to be low at 1.9 millimoles.
This morning the inquest heard that when her sugars were tested on admission to GUH, they were lower again at 1.3 millimoles. Her condition rapidly deteriorated and doctors were forced to resuscitate her before she was transferred to the intensive care unit.
Giving evidence on the second day of the inquest her mother Kathleen Conroy said they were told she was being transferred to Temple Street by ambulance because intensive care in GUH did not have the equipment to deal with a child. They were assured that she would be “okay”, she said.
However, when Mrs Conroy and her husband John arrived at Temple Street they were told that their daughter had been on “life support” when she was transferred and that the “prognosis was poor”.
“This was the first time that we realised that we were going to lose our daughter,” she said, adding that they were in “shock” and “couldn’t accept it".
Mrs Conroy said that during an admission to GUH in the August before her daughter's death she was told by consultant paediatrician Dr Edina Moylett that Aibha would be referred to Our Lady’s Hospital, Crumlin, within two to three days for further testing but this never happened.
“If she had gotten that referral, she would be alive now,” she said.
Dr Simon Mills, barrister representing Dr Moylett, said that she will say there was “never a plan for urgent referral” to Crumlin.
The inquest has yet to hear post-mortem evidence on the cause of Aibha's death.
However, coroner Dr Brian Farrell said that it is his understanding that there "may be a challenge" to the cause given by the pathologist.
The inquest continues.