Monday 22 January 2018

'No words' to describe death of my baby boy

Maree Butler and Eoin Byrne hold a photo of their son, Darragh, at the inquest into his death. Photo: Gareth Chaney
Maree Butler and Eoin Byrne hold a photo of their son, Darragh, at the inquest into his death. Photo: Gareth Chaney
Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

The distraught mother of a baby boy who died five days after being born at Dublin's Coombe hospital has said there are "no words" to describe being told her son would not live.

Darragh Byrne was born a "navy blue colour" on February 15, 2013 - but died five days later.

Dublin's Coroner's Court was told that his parents have since received a "letter of apology" from the hospital acknowledging "failings" in the care of their son. They only received the letter in the past week, the court was told.

Addressing the court, Darragh's mother, Marie Butler, from Portlaoise, Co Laois, recalled the "five precious day" she had with her child.

In the weeks before going into labour, she said all routine scans she underwent indicated a healthy baby boy, and that there was "no cause for concern".

Later, a routine blood test at her local hospital indicated she had developed gestational diabetes. She was referred to the diabetics team in the Coombe Hospital. Her pregnancy continued as normal and her diabetes was "dietary controlled".

On February 14, 2013, at approximately 35 weeks gestation, her waters broke at home.

She was admitted into the Coombe Hospital at 10pm that night. She was told it was hospital policy not to induce labour at 35 weeks, and that it was likely that she would go into labour within 24 hours.

At 6am the next day, the pain was getting "intense". She was transferred to the labour ward and placed on a drip to speed up the birth. "I was pushing and pushing for what seemed like an eternity, but nothing was happening. I remember the midwife scolding me for shouting."

It was then decided to transfer her to theatre for a C-section. "I asked my husband what was taking so long, and had they got the baby out yet.

"Eoin didn't say anything and I was so out of it that I had no cause for concern. Little did I know that Darragh had been taken from me a navy blue colour and non-responsive. Darragh was being resuscitated clinging for his life and I had no idea."

Eventually, a midwife told her that Darragh weighed 5lb 15oz but insisted "that's all she knew".

She was later told that her son was "very sick" and was unlikely "to make it".

"No words can describe the feeling of being told your baby might not survive. I eventually got to see my son at 10pm that night."

David Holland SC, for the family, told the inquest that it appeared the hospital is "facing up to the situation which has arisen". He said it is "staggering" that the hospital failed to carry out a review into the death of baby Darragh.

"That is quite an extraordinary omission."

The hearing resumes today.

Irish Independent

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