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Mothers left in dark over miscarriage diagnosis blunders

Martha O'Neill Brennan from Athenry with her son Aaron. Andrew Downes

MOTHERS who were wrongly told their babies were dead in the womb still do not know what went wrong or who is to blame.

Despite the publication of a general report this week into the misdiagnosis scandal, some of the 24 women involved have yet to receive any specific details about their own cases.

They do not know who was at fault or what went wrong in the lead-up to their being mistakenly told they had miscarried.

While some of the women have already received individual reports from their own hospitals telling them what went wrong in their specific case, the remainder will have to wait -- and the HSE can't say when the reports will be finished.

It is unclear how many women are yet to receive the specific reports as the entire process is anonymous.

The HSE national report into the scandal, released this week, outlined 24 cases of miscarriage misdiagnosis. In six of these cases women had invasive surgery to have their foetuses removed. In two of those cases, the unborn children later died.


But nobody was named and nobody was held accountable in the 57-page report, which only dealt with national statistics.

It did not name the hospitals involved -- even though there were incidents in 16 of the country's 19 maternity wards.

Melissa Redmond from Donabate in north Dublin, who sparked the entire controversy when she told how she was wrongly told her son Michael was dead, has already been given a report by Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda after demanding one.

But Rebecca Fogarty from Athy, Co Kildare, is still waiting to find out exactly what happened in her case.

Ms Fogarty was told by a house officer in Portlaoise Hospital that her baby Polly, now two, was dead.

But just before she was due to have an operation to remove the foetus, her husband insisted that she have a second scan, which showed her baby was alive. She has still not received a report from her hospital.

Ms Fogarty yesterday said she spoke to the hospital manager and head consultant in Portlaoise, as part of the national review process.

Her dealings with the hospital took place late last year and she asked where the house officer -- a junior doctor in training who gave her the misdiagnosis -- was now. But she says she wasn't given an answer.

"I would like to know where the house officer who diagnosed me incorrectly is," she said.

"They don't even know if she is in the country anymore. They told me it shouldn't have been diagnosed so quickly and that the person who did it wasn't qualified to do it. The system has got to change."

Meanwhile, the Medical Council would not reveal whether it had received complaints from any of the 24 women dealt with in the report.

Martha O'Neill Brennan from Athenry, Co Galway, who also saved her son's life after getting a second opinion, said she had written to the Medical Council before her case and others were made public. She was told there was no case worth investigating.

A spokesperson for the Medical Council said it could not comment on any cases or correspondence it received, for confidentiality reasons.

Irish Independent