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Wednesday 18 September 2019

'We've had to live with unspeakable horror of losing our baby'

Bundle of joy: Eibhlín Wills when she was just two days old
Bundle of joy: Eibhlín Wills when she was just two days old

Louise Roseingrave

Baby Eibhlín was the much-loved first-born little girl of John and Louise Wills.

Her father described how she was a healthy baby with a big personality, who was brought into the world on November 19.

"She was a bubbly, amenable baby, goo-ing and gaa-ing and making noises," Mr Wills said.

"She was this tiny little person who was incredibly alert for her age."

The Wills were over the moon to bring their little bundle of joy home just five days later, and the public health nurse visited the family on November 27.

"We spent those first few days getting used to her. She was feeding well and sleeping well and settled into her little routine," he said.

"The nurse was very happy with her. That weekend Eibhlín seemed to have picked up a cold. She was sniffling a little but she was still feeding."

But everything changed by that Monday. Little Eibhlín was feeding less and she seemed tired. The hospital advised the Wills to bring their little girl in if they were concerned, when suddenly she lost consciousness. They rushed to hospital, but the baby girl was pronounced dead in the early hours of December 1.

The Wills said that their lives have never been the same.

"For the past three years we have had to live with the unspeakable horror of losing our baby girl to an entirely preventable disease," Mr Wills said. "While it has been extremely painful to go through the details again... the verdict gives us the opportunity to again warn the public, and especially the families of newborns and those caring for them, of the potential danger of the common cold-sore virus.

"This tragedy continues to affect us and navigating such pain would not be possible without the support and love of our families, friends, neighbours and colleagues who continue to be there through the difficult times since her death."

They thanked all of Eibhlín's carers without exception.

"We know that each and every one of them did their best," he said.

"Whether she contracted the virus from direct contact with one of her carers, or through one of the many procedures carried out on her in hospital or in some other way, we will never know. We know that she did not contract it from her mother Louise.

"In our search for facts, we were shocked to learn how little was known about this killer virus, even in medical circles.

"Our concern now is that every maternity hospital and unit in Ireland bring similar changes to those introduced at the NMH."

Irish Independent

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