herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Parents 'consumed' by belief Aibhe had underlying illness

John and Kathleen Conroy with their daughter, Sorcha, outside Dublin Coroner's Court
John and Kathleen Conroy with their daughter, Sorcha, outside Dublin Coroner's Court
Aibhe Conroy

The possibility that six-year-old Aibhe Conroy's underlying medical conditional was not effectively addressed is "consuming" her family, the inquest into her death has been told.

The Conroy family's solicitor, Damien Tansey, said Aibhe's parents, Kathleen and John Conroy, from Gowla, Co Galway, believe their daughter's potential hormonal abnormalities were not effectively addressed by health care professionals.

He told Dublin Coroner's Court this belief "is eating them up" and "consuming them".

Severity

The inquest heard that Aibhe was critically ill when she was transferred from Galway University Hospital (GUH) to the intensive care unit at Temple Street Children's Hospital in Dublin on December 11, 2011.

Her parents were unaware of the severity of her condition and did not realise that her hours in the ambulance while she was being transferred to Dublin were to be some of her last, Mr Tansey said.

He said the thought that their daughter was travelling to Dublin without them by her side when she was so close to death is "causing them a lot of unease. It's cutting them up".

Aibhe had initially been admitted to GUH suffering from hypoglycaemia, or low blood sugar, and weakness. She was also vomiting.

At first she responded to treatment, but within 90 minutes she suffered a respiratory arrest and had to be resuscitated.

She was subsequently admitted to intensive care at GUH but then suffered brain damage within a couple of hours and was later transferred to Dublin. She died at Temple Street Hospital on December 14, 2011.

Aibhe had twice been admitted to GUH, in March 2010 and August 2011. On both occasions, she was treated for hypoglycaemia and the issue was resolved.

Dr Ana Louise Hawke was working at GUH when Aibhe went in for treatment during August 2011.

She told the inquest that she initiated contact with Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin about the possibility of tests there at the request of a consultant.

"I made no decisions in relation to Aibhe's care," she said.

Mr Tansey asked if she recalled a conversation with someone at Crumlin and if she told someone about Aibhe's prior issues with hypoglycaemia.

Dr Hawke said she did recall receiving a phone call from Crumlin, but she has no memory of the conversation.

At the time, Dr Hawke wrote on Aibhe's chart that colleagues in Crumlin said they would be happy to accept her into their care if her blood sugar levels went below 2.6.

When Aibhe was discharged from GUH on August 24, 2011, her mother was under the impression that she would be seeing doctors in Crumlin in a few days, according to Mr Tansey.

However, this never happ-ened.

Mrs Conroy previously told the inquest that she believed her daughter would be alive if she had been referred to Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin for testing for potential hormonal abnormalities.

Mr Tansey told the inquest there is compelling evidence that there were hormonal abnormalities in Aibhe.

The inquest continues today.

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