Sunday 18 March 2018

New probe after third baby dies at Cavan hospital

Eilish O'Regan and Alison Bray

A THIRD baby death in the space of 18 months is under investigation at a busy maternity unit.

The latest investigation has been launched into the death of a baby who was born on Tuesday night and died in the maternity unit in Cavan hospital yesterday morning.

An independent review is already under way into the circumstances leading to the death of a baby boy last month, while the report of another similar tragedy 18 months ago has still not been given to the family.

A spokeswoman for the HSE confirmed that the latest baby death happened yesterday morning, but she did not give any details on the circumstances of the delivery.

She said the hospital offered its deepest sympathy to the family on their tragic loss, and hope they will be given the privacy that they need to deal with their grief.

"The hospital will give the family every assistance and support required. As is normal practice, a full review of the circumstances surrounding the death will be carried out."

She added: "The family of the baby have asked that the media would respect their privacy to allow them mourn their loss without further media attention. In respecting their wishes, the HSE has agreed to make no further comment."

The latest death came as Health Minister James Reilly was questioned in the Dail by TD Caoimhghin O Caolain on the issue of baby deaths at the hospital.

He asked why the report of the review group who are investigating the death of a baby after a caesarean section is still not ready, 18 months on.

"Why does it take 18 months and more to establish the facts of such an occurrence?" asked the Sinn Fein TD for Cavan-Monaghan. "Given the facts may well inform future practice within the hospital, would it not be essential to ensure early completion of the investigation and report and the implementation of any recommendations that may be made?"

He also referred to the second baby death after a caesarean section on Saturday, April 26, and said: "People generally are alarmed that another sad outcome, where a caesarean section is also involved, has now occurred – and the report on the first incident has not yet been presented."


He said that patients want to know why these tragic outcomes occurred.

"They want to know that the lessons, if there are any, are learnt and that the prospects of a further bad outcome are eliminated."

Dr Reilly said that a final report from the external review committee will be submitted to the HSE in the coming weeks.

"I agree with the Deputy and share his concern that people would be reassured of the safety of the service," he said. "To make a general point, we have an excellent service, delivered by excellent people, but they are people and to err is to be human."

An independent group of experts is to investigate the death of the baby boy in April. It will examine if a delay in performing an emergency caesarean section on his mother contributed to the child's death.

It is understood that the mother was admitted to hospital for a planned caesarean section, but developed complications on the Saturday evening.

The investigation team, which is to include outside experts, will have to determine if the time it took to get the woman to theatre was a factor in the baby's death.

It is believed the delay could have been more than an hour.

A spokeswoman said the HSE incident management policy is being followed and a full and thorough investigation is under way.

Irish Independent

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