Monday 19 February 2018

Criminal probe urged in 'botched delivery' of baby at Coombe Hospital

Baby Jennifer Anna McGarry
Baby Jennifer Anna McGarry
Cathal McMahon

Cathal McMahon

A doctor accused of snapping a baby's spine in a botched delivery was forced to resign from a post in the UK after concerns were raised about his treatment of patients.

Last week it was revealed that baby Jennifer Anna McGarry suffered a spinal injury in a forceps-assisted delivery in the Coombe Hospital on November 28, 1991, which led to her death.

Some of the baby's organs were also removed without her parents' knowledge.

In a private HSE report, concluded 23 years after Jennifer Anna's death, the hospital apologised to the family, admitting that failure to perform a caesarean section "most likely" led to the child's fatal injuries.

The doctor, who declined to be interviewed by the review team, is named only as Registrar of Obstetrics H in the document.

Speaking in the Dáil this week, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin revealed further details about the medic.

"I understand that the registrar who delivered the child using a forceps subsequently moved to the UK, and after that he resigned from a position in a hospital after concerns were raised about his treatment of patients," he said.

Reacting to the revelation, the baby's parents Catherina and Stephen, from Sallynoggin, in Dublin, said: "What allegedly happened to these patients in the UK could have been avoided had the Coombe Hospital properly investigated our daughter's death 23 years ago."

Mr Martin also criticised the shortcomings in a 124-page report given to the parents.

"The qualified apology by the Coombe, while it is welcome, does not go far enough for Catherina and Stephen McGarry," he said.

"Stephen and Catherina now want a criminal investigation into their case. At the very least it is clear that they need an independent investigation as to why they lost their daughter," Mr Martin said.

He has urged Health Minister Leo Varadkar to meet with the parents.

A spokesperson for the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital (CWIUH) said that the hospital cannot comment on any individual case, past or present.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Health Minister Leo Varadkar said the minister has acknowledged that this was a deeply distressing incident for the family.

"This relates to the death of a baby in the Coombe 23 years ago. The Coombe carried out an investigation and has apologised for the failings in care provided at the time.

"The death has since been notified to the coroner. Any possible criminal investigation arising from this would be a matter for the Gardai, not the Minister for Health," he said.

Irish Independent

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