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67 incidents led to permanent incapacity or death in maternity hospitals last year


Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar TD

Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar TD

Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar TD

Some 67 ‘extreme incidents’ which led to permanent incapacity or death were recorded in Ireland’s maternity hospitals last year, it was claimed.

The figures were released to RTE Prime Time by the State Claims Agency, which collects data on adverse events in acute hospitals.

There were three further cases rated as ‘major’ - leading to a long term disability - and 1,248 moderate incidents which required medical treatment.

RTE Prime Time last night highlighted three ‘serious’ cases which had no incident report. Reviews were only initiated after formal companits and threats of legal action, it added.

One  featured the case of baby Caoimhe, who died shortly after she was born at Limerick University Hospital in 2009. Her parents, John and Joan Mulcair, later got an expert report from the UK-based Consultant Obstetrician Edward Shaxted who noted the baby became progressively more starved of oxygen during the last hour and a half of labour. He concluded: “It is likely the baby would have survived had she been delivered earlier.”

The HSE made an out of court settlement with the Mulcairs last December, RTE said.

Another case revealed how Claire Rushe from Edenderry, Co Offally, was told she had miscarried her baby in 2012 but nine days laters it emerged the miscarrige had been misdiagnosed. She lost the baby the following day.

Grace Vaughan, from Navan in Co Meath, also described how she became unwell when giving birth to her second child in Cavan General Hospital in March 2013.

She was in such severe pain she left the hospital in a wheelchair, and that night was rushed to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, where she was diagnosed with septicemia.

This happened just four months after the death of Savita Hallapanaver in Galway University Hospital from septecemia.

Ms Vaughan’s husband Emmett, and a doctor in Drogheda, made repeated efforts to contact from the hospital, but the first she heard was a phone call from a hospital representative six months later, she said.

An external review is now underway by the HSE,

Health Minister Leo Varadkar said he is always disappointed to hear about anyone having a bad experience of the health service, especially if it involves a lack of compassion.

“It’s important that patients are listened to, that complaints are dealt with properly, and that reviews are conducted in a reasonable timeframe. Honesty, openness and compassion cost nothing,” he added.

Online Editors