Wednesday 27 March 2019

Maternity unit discharged new mum with septicaemia

Grace Vaughan with son Charlie after his birth at Cavan General Hospital in 2013
Grace Vaughan with son Charlie after his birth at Cavan General Hospital in 2013
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

A new mother, who left a maternity unit in a wheelchair and in pain, was later diagnosed with septicaemia, a form of blood poisoning, an independent review report has revealed.

The report looked at the case of Grace Vaughan, who gave birth at Cavan General Hospital, in March 2013.

She had complained to several staff members about severe pain, despite getting an epidural.

She had presented to the hospital days before the birth, complaining of pain, headaches and visual disturbances, but a consultant was not available.

When she came back to the hospital the following night she was kept in.

She went into labour two days later, feeling shivery and continuing to endure pain.

She had an epidural to reduce the pain of childbirth, but could not understand why she was in such distress.

Ms Vaughan said she did not get a proper response when she asked staff about the epidural and why it did not seem to have an effect.

When she was discharged she had to be put in a wheelchair.

Later that night at home her husband had to call an ambulance, and Ms Vaughan was rushed to Our Lady of Lourdes, in Drogheda, where septicaemia was diagnosed.

Septicaemia can quickly become life-threatening.

It must be treated in a hospital and if left untreated can turn to sepsis.

Ms Vaughan recalled that there were complaints about Cavan hospital being short-staffed during her stay.

The review team concluded that Ms Vaughan was not properly assessed at Cavan Hospital.

HSE chief Tony O'Brien has previously apologised to Ms Vaughan.

The review team called for a better handover policy between medical teams at Cavan Hospital, and said that pain assessment tools should be used by all staff.

Since the incident a complaint process at Cavan Hospital has been improved.

A forum has been established, where monthly meetings review cases.

Irish Independent

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