Wednesday 17 January 2018

Maternity hospital had three mums die in a year

A busy maternity hospital recorded three deaths among women in their 20s and 30s
A busy maternity hospital recorded three deaths among women in their 20s and 30s
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

ONE of the busiest maternity hospitals in the country saw three mothers die last year – the highest since it opened in 2006.

The annual report of the Cork University Maternity Hospital, where up to 50 babies a day can be delivered on occasion, recorded the three deaths among women in their 20s and 30s.

The first involved a 38-year-old woman who had a high BMI and a history of type-2 diabetes as well as high blood pressure.

She was being treated as an inpatient when she collapsed suddenly and had a cardiac arrest. Although a successful emergency caesarean section was carried out she died nine days later.

Her baby was born alive and after being looked after in the neonatal unit was "discharged home well with the father", the report said.

The second death involved a 34-year-old smoker who had an uneventful pregnancy and delivered a baby at 41 weeks.

She was well when discharged but two weeks later collapsed at home.

The woman was transferred to a local general hospital but died shortly after arrival. The cause of death was a tear which developed in the coronary artery.

The third tragedy involved a 23-year-old with sickle cell disease, a disorder which affects the red blood cells.

She had attended the hospital for a blood transfusion at 14 weeks but five days later suffered a sickle cell crisis and had a cardiac arrest.

She was resuscitated but died two days later.

The report said deaths in previous years at the hospital were due to a drink-and-drug overdose by a woman at six weeks into her pregnancy and a pulmonary embolism which happened to a mother 12 weeks after delivery.


The Central Statistics Office (CSO) recorded just one maternal death last year – believed to be that of Savita Halappanavar who died in University Hospital Galway. However, the criteria for maternal deaths was widened by the Maternal Death Enquiry (MDE) system.

It has already been reported by the Coombe maternity hospital in Dublin that two women died there last year, including a mother of twins.

The reason for the gap is that the CSO relies solely on death certificates when compiling information, but MDE Ireland, which is funded by the HSE, gets information from different sources including hospitals, coroners' courts and public health nurses.

Irish Independent

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