Health Minister Reilly apologises to parents of tragic Portlaoise babies
Health Minister James Reilly has apologised to the parents of the four babies who died tragically at the Midland Regional Hospital.
The Minister said he was appalled that there were two families involved who were still not aware of investigations into their babies’ deaths.
“What people seek is an acknowledgement that something went wrong, an apology that it went wrong and the promise that it won’t go wrong again because we’ve learnt from the experience and things will change,” Minister Reilly said today.
“But that clearly didn’t happen here in this situation.”
Dr Reilly said he would ‘take the opportunity’ to apologies to the families involved.
"I'd like to take this opportunity to apologise to the families concerned," Minister Reilly told the Irish Independent during a visit to Naas Hospital in Co. Kildare.
"I found the programme very upsetting and disturbing," Minister Reilly said.
The minister has called for a report into the death of the four babies and said he will take the required action following the analysis of the reports.
The Minister’s comments follows an RTE Investigations Unit programme – aired last night - that investigated the deaths at the hospital in Portlaoise which occurred over a six-year period.
He did not rule out the prospect of disciplinary action.
The programme found that the babies all died in similar circumstances and there was a failure to implement the findings of a report into one of the deaths.
A senior figure in the HSE "apologised unreservedly" to the families if any of the agency's actions had added to their grief.
Dr Philip Crowley, the National Director of Quality and Patient Safety, told the Prime Time Show: "I absolutely regret if any actions that we've taken in how we've either undertaken the investigations or dealt with the reports has added to people's grief and I apologise unreservedly for that."
The programme found that the babies were alive at the onset of labour, but died either during labour or within seven days of birth.
There were no 'congenital abnormalities' in any of the cases identified and found that other factors had led to the four deaths.
The Prime Time show found the HSE and the hospital failed to implement the recommendations and that such changes to patient care may have saved the lives of the three other babies who died in similar circumstances.
One of the couples that told their story, Roisin and Mark Molloy, had their fifth child in Portlaoise hospital in January 2012 but were left grieving when their baby son Mark died soon after he was born.
Two years previously Shauna Keyes and Joey Cornally, had also lost their baby son Joshua in similar circumstances.
Both babies died due to a lack of oxygen and the cases were reviewed by hospital authorities and the HSE.
The reviews found care failures in both cases including a failure to recognise and act on foetal distress.
The HSE review into the second death found that the recommendations of the first review had not been implemented.
Mr Molloy told the documentary: "It was fresh in their minds -- all of these recommendations. Had it meant something Joshua's recommendations would have been implemented and Mark would be here today with us."