HSE says sorry over tragic Aine remark

David Gilbert

THE Health Service Executive (HSE) has issued an apology to the family of a five-year-old girl who died of suspected meningitis last month, saying it was not their "intention to add to the Kennedy family's anguish".

The apology was issued by the HSE after Aine's grieving parents Caroline and Matt Kennedy, from Carnew, Co Wicklow, spoke of their hurt at a remark carried in a statement issued by the HSE shortly after her daughter's tragic death.

Mrs Kennedy said the family felt the remark suggested they had neglected their daughter.

They claimed their grief had been compounded by the HSE statement, which they believe questioned their actions as parents. The couple said they did everything in their power to save their little girl -- but felt remarks in a HSE statement undermined this.

Caroline said they had accepted an apology from the HSE over the phone and that in future "they should think about the people connected with the statements they are issuing, because they highly offended me and I was not going to sit back and take that".

Aine Kennedy died of suspected meningitis on April 27 and a statement was issued by the HSE on April 30 with advice regarding recognising the symptoms of meningitis.

A public health specialist, Dr John Cuddihy, said in the statement: "If people have any doubts or fears about symptoms they should contact the family doctor immediately -- adding that if the disease is diagnosed early and treated promptly, most people make a complete recovery."

The Kennedy family felt as if the last sentence suggested they neglected their daughter.