Monday 14 October 2019

Couple in abortion tragedy lose plea on review

Holles Street Hospital Photo: Damien Eagers / Irish Independent
Holles Street Hospital Photo: Damien Eagers / Irish Independent
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The couple at the centre of the tragic abortion case at the National Maternity Hospital were not consulted on the membership of the external panel who will examine their case, it emerged yesterday.

The panel of experts, most of whom come from the UK, was selected by the hospital, the couple's solicitor Caoimhe Haughey said.

A termination of pregnancy was carried out at the hospital last March after a test showed the unborn child would not survive and had a fatal foetal abnormality. However, a more advanced test revealed the child was healthy.

Ms Haughey said the couple had requested a say in the make-up of the panel but this had not happened.

The hospital is also drawing up terms of reference, although not all medical records have been handed over yet.

The panel includes Pran Pandya, consultant in foetal medicine at University College Hospitals London, who will chair the review.

It also includes laboratory cytogeneticist Sian Morgan, head of laboratory at Wales Medical Genetics Services; Dr Shane McKee, consultant in genetic medicine at the Belfast HSC Trust; and Jennifer Donnelly, consultant in foetal medicine at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin. A patient representative will also be nominated.

Ms Haughey said that on "May 16 last my clients were told they would be consulted regarding the membership of the panel and be allowed to forward details of their own experts".

The issue was raised in the Dáil yesterday by Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín who also claimed the notification of the termination to the Health Minister by the hospital breached the 28-day limit set out in legislation. He said the termination of the healthy baby was completed on March 14. The record should have been with the minister by April 12.

"No record of the abortion was forwarded by the hospital to the minister until after the family solicitor raised the case," he said.

A spokesman for the hospital declined to comment.

Irish Independent

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