Friday 21 October 2016

Almost 70 'extreme incidents' in Irish maternity hospitals

Some 67 "extreme incidents" that led to permanent incapacity or death were recorded in Ireland's maternity hospitals last year, it was claimed.

There were three further cases rated as "major" - leading to a long-term disability - and 1,248 moderate incidents which required medical treatment.

The figures were released to RTE Prime Time by the State Claims Agency, which collects data on adverse events in acute hospitals. The agency said there were 67 incidents that it classed as "extreme".

Prime Time last night highlighted three "serious" cases which had no incident reports. Reviews were only initiated after formal complaints and threats of legal action, it added.

One featured the case of baby Caoimhe, who died shortly after she was born at Limerick University Hospital in 2009. Her parents, John and Joan Mulcair, later got an expert report from UK-based consultant obstetrician Edward Shaxted who noted the baby became progressively more starved of oxygen during the last hour and a half of labour.

He concluded: "It is likely the baby would have survived had she been delivered earlier."

The HSE made an out-of-court settlement with the Mulcairs last December, RTE said.

Another case revealed how Claire Rushe from Edenderry, Co Offaly, was told she had miscarried her baby in 2012 but nine days later it emerged the miscarriage had been misdiagnosed. Howerever, she lost the baby the following day.

Grace Vaughan, from Navan in Co Meath, also described how she became unwell when giving birth to her second child in Cavan General Hospital in March 2013.

She was in such severe pain she left the hospital in a wheelchair, but that night was rushed to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, where she was diagnosed with septicaemia.

This happened just four months after the death of Savita Halappanavar in Galway University Hospital from septicaemia.

Ms Vaughan's husband Emmett, and a doctor in Drogheda, made repeated efforts to contact the hospital, but the first they heard was a phone call from a hospital representative six months later, she said.

An external review is now under way by the HSE.

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