Saturday 17 August 2019

Publishing review of baby deaths at Christmas is insensitive, say parents

Warren and Lorraine Reilly, who lost babies Asha and Amber. Photo: Andrew Downes
Warren and Lorraine Reilly, who lost babies Asha and Amber. Photo: Andrew Downes

Caroline Crawford

A couple who lost two baby girls at Portiuncula hospital have criticised the HSE as "insensitive and thoughtless" after it emerged that a review into their deaths would be released just before Christmas.

Lorraine and Warren Reilly from Loughrea, Co Galway, are among the families whose cases were included in a review into serious deficiencies in maternity care.

The review, which was started in March 2015, was due to be completed within five months. More than two-and-a-half years later it remains unpublished.

Each of the families received individual family reviews in the spring, aspects of which were then to be incorporated into the full review. They were told the full report would follow in a matter of weeks.

However, following months of delays the families have now been informed the full report will finally be published in the week before Christmas.

They have hit out at the 'insensitive' timing of the release.

"To send those reports out to families the week before Christmas is clearly going to cause upset. Even if you decide 'I'm going to park it and not look at it until after Christmas', it's going to be in your head the whole time," said Mr Reilly.

"You're going to have to look at it and see what it says. It's going to open up Pandora's Box all over again for families. It's insensitive and thoughtless."

He and other families are now urging the Saolta Health Care Group, which has responsibility for the hospital, to bring forward the release date.

The Reillys lost babies Asha and Amber in 2008 and 2010. Asha was stillborn, while baby Amber, who was rushed to Holles St hospital in Dublin, survived for a week. The Saolta Group later apologised unreservedly to the family for failures of care. A spokesperson for the Saolta Group said the review team was "in the process of finalising the review report".

"We are in contact with the families involved to update them on the progress."

They added that in the meantime it was progressing with the implementation of the recommendations from the individual system analysis reports.

Irish Independent

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