Friday 13 December 2019

Heavily pregnant and ill mum waited 84 minutes to get to hospital - and lost her baby

Pregnant and haemorrhaging woman's condition deemed 'life-threatening' when she arrived at hospital

Cavan General Hospital Photo: Lorraine Teevan
Cavan General Hospital Photo: Lorraine Teevan
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

It took nearly an hour and-a-half for a heavily pregnant and haemorrhaging woman to get to Cavan's maternity hospital in the early hours of Sunday morning after an ambulance had been called, the Irish Independent has learned.

The woman, who lost her baby, made a 999 call in Bailieboro at 1.57am but then had to wait for an ambulance to come from Castleblaney in Co Monaghan.

She finally arrived at Cavan Hospital at 3.21am, where her condition was deemed life-threatening. The baby did not survive and the mother is now recovering.

Meanwhile, it also emerged yesterday that a second maternal death has been recorded by one of the country's major maternity hospitals this year.

The Coombe Hospital in Dublin confirmed that a pregnant woman who had been in its care died in another hospital.

The tragic news comes after the death of Malak Kuzbary Thawley (34) at the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street on May 8, when she was having emergency surgery for an ectopic pregnancy.

A spokesman for the Coombe said a maternal death was classified as the death of a patient for whom the hospital had accepted medical responsibility when death occurred either during pregnancy or within six weeks of delivery.

He added that most deaths of women transferred to other hospitals related to an underlying health condition rather than an obstetric failure. It was practice to have a review into all maternal deaths.

The review into the death of the baby on Sunday at Cavan Hospital is expected to examine if the length of time it took the woman to get to the maternity unit contributed to the tragedy.

The HSE confirmed yesterday that the ambulance service received a 999 call at 1.57am on Sunday to go the Bailieboro area of Cavan. The call was triaged, using recognised protocols and standards of the advanced medical priority dispatch system.

The nearest available ambulance was dispatched from Castleblayney and arrived at the woman's house at 2.31am.

The woman received out-of-hospital emergency care at the scene and was taken to Cavan maternity unit, arriving at 3.21am.

The length of time it took the woman to reach the hospital is expected to form part of a review into her care.

A second investigation is also under way at Cavan into the death of a day-old baby who had been delivered by Caesarean section.

Health Minister Simon Harris said yesterday that he expected to receive preliminary reports on both deaths shortly.

The delay in completing reviews into previous baby deaths at Cavan, some dating back to 2012, was raised in the Dáil yesterday. Taoiseach Enda Kenny said only one of those investigations had been completed and two others were at "an advanced stage".

He said: "It's important first of all to have the internal review completed under the systems that apply. If an independent outside review is necessary, well then that can happen."

The Sinn Féin TD for Cavan/Monaghan, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, called for speedy reviews into the latest baby deaths and said the other investigations must be published.

Krysia Lynch of the maternity services lobby group AIMS said there should be automatic inquests into all maternal deaths. The National Maternity Hospital has referred the death of Malak Kuzbary Thawley to the coroner. She suffered a vascular injury.

Irish Independent

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