Tuesday 22 October 2019

Baby found under dying mother in Cork hospital loses battle for life

Stock photo: PA
Stock photo: PA

Ralph Riegel

A baby found critically injured underneath his dying mother in a room at a maternity hospital has tragically lost his battle for life.

The newborn baby boy died shortly before 7pm last night despite efforts over two days by Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) doctors to stabilise his condition.

Shocked CUMH staff found the infant critically injured underneath his unresponsive mother on the floor of a single room in a ward at the hospital on Monday morning.

Health chiefs are treating the death of the young woman as a tragic accident.

Named locally as Margaret Downey (36), she was originally from Kilmallock in Co Limerick. It is understood the devoted mother had two other children.

It is understood that she was a technician who worked in the bio-pharmaceuticals industry.

An investigation is now under way at CUMH into the full circumstances of the tragedy.

The baby boy was found seriously injured partially underneath his mother by shocked CUMH staff shortly after 7am last Monday.

Ms Downey had given birth last weekend and it is believed she was breastfeeding when the freak accident occurred.

One theory being considered is that she was suddenly taken ill and may have fallen out of bed as she attempted to seek help or reach a toilet.

It is feared she may have suffered some kind of seizure and fallen onto the floor with the tiny baby being partly trapped underneath her.

Cause

A post-mortem examination was carried out on her remains at Cork University Hospital (CUH) yesterday.

However, it is expected to be some time before a precise cause of death is confirmed.

A file will be submitted to Cork Coroner Philip Comyn for an inquest to be staged early next year.

CUMH was opened just over a decade ago and the Cork facility ranks as Ireland's most modern maternity hospital.

It is understood Ms Downey had been checked by CUMH staff just a short time before she was found.

She had shown no indications of illness or feeling unwell at the time.

When she was later found on the floor, emergency resuscitation was commenced but, tragically, she could not be revived and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The South South-West Hospital Group of the Health Service Executive (HSE) has described the incident as a tragic occurrence.

Counselling and support services are now in place for the woman's family.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News