Wednesday 12 December 2018

Lack of training, incorrect use of drug and failure to disclose mistakes to patients uncovered by report into Portiuncula maternity services

Report into Portiuncula hospital finds litany of failings

Portiuncula Hospital, which is located in Ballinasloe, Co Galway
Portiuncula Hospital, which is located in Ballinasloe, Co Galway
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

A litany of care failings have emerged in an investigation of the care of 18 babies who died or were born with a disability in a Galway hospital.

Of the 18 cases reviewed six of the babies died. In four of these cases there were significant failings in the care provided to those babies.

The damning report into the infants born at Portiuncula Hospital in Galway between 2008 and 2014 found a different standard of obstetric care may have made a difference to 10 of the infants.

The findings revealed:

  • Failure to identify pre-natal  warning sign that there may be a problem with the birth including abnormal foetal heartbeats.
  • Failure to progress the delivery of the babies in a number of cases
  • The incorrect use of oxytocin, a drug given to mothers to speed up labour
  • Failure to bring serious cases to the attention of a senior doctor
  • A lack of training and poor communication among maternity staff
  • Lack of  midwives and consultants.
  • Two directors of nursing and one assistant director of nursing did not have midwifery qualifications
  • Failure to openly disclose mistakes to parents
  • One family was contacted by the hospital inquiring about their baby although the infant had died
  • Another family received a call about their baby as the child was being buried
  • The review identified contributory factors and/or incidental findings in each of the 18 cases reviewed
  • Serious errors in management occurred in 10 cases that would have probably made a difference to the outcome for those babies

Prof Walker said the report is not about targeting anyone for blame.

But staff and national agencies must acknowledge their role .

Since the investigation got underway the hospital has put an action place in place to address the weaknesses.

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