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Three mothers died at the Rotunda in last year

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The Rotunda Hospital in Dublin

The Rotunda Hospital in Dublin

Rotunda Hospital

Rotunda Hospital

/

The Rotunda Hospital in Dublin

The Rotunda Hospital has recorded the deaths of three mothers last year.

The figures are contained in the hospital's clinical report for 2013.

Two of the three deaths were due to pulmonary embolism. A coroner's report on the third death was being awaited when the Rotunda report was being published.

The hospital delivered 8,841 babies weighing greater than 500 grams to 8648 women last year. The caesarean section rate was 31pc. Nearly half of mums opted for an epidural (47pc) last year, according to the report.

Of the mums giving birth, a breakdown of their age revealed that nearly 6pc were over the age of 40, with around 2pc under the age of 20.

Master Sam Coulter-Smith said that it was another very busy year for the hospital.

"The recent trend of very high activity levels, coupled with a significant reduction in budget allocation and headcount, continued to pose a problem for the hospital," he said.

"The hospital now looks after in excess of two-and-a-half thousand more women than it did 10 years ago.

"The fact that outcomes remain as good as they are is a great tribute to the skill and dedication of the staff at the hospital," the Master added.

"Over a 10-day period in early December, there were three 24-hour periods of time where there were 47, 43 and 42 deliveries.

"This is a completely unacceptable level of activity given the resources available to the hospital," he said.

The expert also said that there were 10 patients transferred from the Rotunda to the Mater's high-dependency, or intensive therapy, unit last year.

"This confirms the recent trend where we are seeing high complexity levels within our obstetric population.

"It also highlights the fact that the hospital is transferring its sickest patients by ambulance, due to the fact that we are not co-located with an acute adult hospital and we have no immediate access to intensive care facilities," he said.

Assault

Meanwhile, the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU) at the hospital provided care for 310 women and men after rape and sexual assault - a decrease of eight patients from the last year.

Most (78pc) presented within seven days of an incident of sexual assault. In 19 cases, the incident had occurred outside of Ireland.

Of the 291 cases in the Republic of Ireland, 228 of these took place in Dublin city or county.

July was the busiest month. The age range was from 12 to 65.

"Although the remit for the adult SATU services is for patients over 14 years, in 2013 the unit provided care for nine girls less than 14 years. These were instances where acute care in a paediatric service could not be arranged," the report said.

Some 35pc reported that the assailant was a stranger.

A total of 218 patients (70pc) had consumed alcohol in the 12 hours prior to the assault.

Some 41 patients were unsure if a sexual assault had taken place, due to memory loss associated with alcohol ingestion, according to the report by Dr Maeve Eogan.

fdillon@herald.ie


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