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Saturday 20 January 2018

Parents facing snub over girl's hospital death

Warren and Lorraine Reilly from Loughrea who lost two children while attending Portiuncla Hospital. Photo: Andrew Downes
Warren and Lorraine Reilly from Loughrea who lost two children while attending Portiuncla Hospital. Photo: Andrew Downes
Baby Amber Reilly who died a week after being born in Portiuncula hospital in Galway and her big sister Angel.
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

A FAMILY who lost two babies at Portiuncula Hospital have been told their case is unlikely to be included in the upcoming review of maternity services - because it falls outside the set timeframe.

Lorraine and Warren Reilly met with the clinical director of the hospital, Dr Pat Nash, on Tuesday to discuss the deaths of their daughters Asha and Amber in 2008 and 2010.

While it was accepted Amber's death fitted the same medical criteria as those cases set for review, it is unlikely to be included, as it fell outside the nine-month period the hospital planned to focus on.

The final review of maternity services at Portiuncula Hospital will be limited to the original seven cases, the Irish Independent has learned. A separate report on each of these seven cases will be compiled.

The review will look at the wider delivery of services at PHB maternity unit during the time period in question.

It will also review neonatal care and identify the current status of five babies who are alive and who had therapeutic hypothermia.

Meanwhile, for the first time, the Reillys have received an internal hospital report into their daughter's death - three years after it was completed.

This report into baby Amber's death, seen by the Irish Independent, highlighted a number of concerns about the treatment and made 12 recommendations.

But it is understood they will not be included in the larger review of maternity services.

"I put it to the hospital that our baby's case meets all the medical criteria (for inclusion in the review) and the only criteria we don't meet is the date. He agreed with us but said the hospital had to place a limit on the review," said Mr Reilly.

The family were told their case could form part of a secondary review, but they fear that it will get lost if not included in the initial review.

"It's very upsetting for families with almost identical circumstances with only the date not fitting," he added.

It's understood the hospital is concerned extending the review to include all 15 cases would see the timeframe increase from nine months to six years.


The Irish Independent has learned the hospital is looking at four separate options for dealing with the newly emerged cases:

* That they be included in the current terms of reference for the upcoming review.

* That an individual review of each particular case be carried out, with families fully consulted.

* Holding a separate group review of the other eight cases where parents have raised concerns or reviewing the cases under the national clinical review mechanism.

The hospital report into Amber's death noted the "failure to interpret accurately the CTG readings" as labour progressed.

It also highlighted that the registrar in question failed to follow advice from the midwife who became "increasingly uneasy" with the decisions made and the treatments ordered.

And it reveals that despite being ordered by a consultant to bring Lorraine to theatre, the registrar "chose to continue with his impression of the progression of mother's labour and provide care and treatment in the labour ward".

Baby Amber suffered oxygen deprivation at birth.

She was rushed to Holles Street hospital for head cooling treatment but passed away six days later.

A spokesperson for the Saolta Hospital Group which runs Portiuncula said the issues raised by Mr Reilly are being taken "fully into account".

"The current review into the seven cases and any future reviews will be conducted in line with the requirement of the HSE 'Open Disclosure' policy. Families affected will be consulted fully.

"The findings of any reviews will be made available to the families," he said, adding the hospital and group regret any distress caused.

Irish Independent

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