A mum has described her anguish about having to bury her baby girl after attending the maternity unit in Portlaoise Hospital – only to have to do it again a year later.
Kildare native Janice Boland (39) and her husband John lost their baby Caitlin in 2006 after an emergency caesarean section at the hospital.
The heartbroken couple described how they went through the trauma of burying their first-born only to be told one year later that some of the baby's remains were retained at the hospital without their knowledge.
The HSE has now referred their case to the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) which is responsible for the investigation into care standards at Portlaoise Hospital.
Teacher Janice from Sallins said that their experience at the hospital after the death of their daughter was "horrendous".
Janice said she got the all-clear during her pregnancy in August 2006 but just two weeks later she asked to be checked out at Portlaoise maternity unit.
"I was told I needed an emergency caesarean section or my baby would die," she said.
After Janice regained consciousness, she was told her baby had died. She was later told that her baby had Edward's syndrome.
"They brought my baby in to me in a tin can with a white sheet over her, on a wheelchair," Janice said.
Less than two months after she returned home, Janice received a shocking letter. "I got a letter saying that I was dead.
"I had to ring the hospital and tell them that they had registered my own death," she said.
Then, more than a year later, she received a call from the hospital while she was at work in Gaelcholaiste Kildare.
They said that they had the remains of baby Caitlin.
"I said 'Remains, what remains? I buried my daughter a year and a half ago.' They said: 'Maybe they are body parts and tissue'. I went into shock, I shook uncontrollably."
She has since written to the Minister for Health and chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan on Monday after witnessing the emotional scenes at the launch of the Department of Health report on Portlaoise.