Tuesday 23 July 2019

Family of tragic pregnant mum want mental health notes shared

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

THE devastated family of a heavily pregnant woman who is believed to have taken her own life want psychiatrists to share their notes on depressed expectant mothers with doctors who deliver their babies.

The body of Anna Byrne, a 35-year-old nurse from Dunboyne, Co Meath, was found last March on rocks near the Bailey Lighthouse at the bottom of Howth Head.

The mother of two was 38 weeks' pregnant with twin boys and had been suffering from depression for several years.

An inquest will open in Dublin today, and it is expected her family will appeal for hospitals to ensure psychiatrists treating pregnant women with mental health issues share their notes with obstetricians.

Mrs Byrne was being treated with medications including the anti-depressant Seroxat during part of her pregnancy.

The mother of two young boys attended psychiatrists and received support from the mental health team at Dublin's Rotunda Hospital during her pregnancy.

Kathrin Coleman, solicitor for Mrs Byrne's husband, Terry, told the Irish Independent it was "very clear" from the devastating events that unfolded that hospitals' practice of keeping mental health notes separate from obstetric notes needed to be changed.

"A more transparent medical record system may assist in preventing such tragedy in the future," said Ms Coleman.


When she went missing, Mrs Byrne's brother, Ciaran Deeney, organised a late-night search in Dun Laoghaire.

Mr Deeney desperately tried to get the message out and sought the public's help. He tweeted: "My heavily pregnant sister expecting twins has gone missing, possibly in Dun Laoghaire area. Please RT (re-tweet)."

Mrs Byrne's body was discovered shortly after her car was found at Howth Head.

Irish Independent

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