Monday 24 October 2016

'We've waited 24 years for the truth' - grieving parents

Baby Jennifer Anna McGarry in hospital with her mother
Baby Jennifer Anna McGarry in hospital with her mother

The failure to report the death of a baby girl at the Coombe Hospital to the coroner's office 24 years ago has been described as a "travesty".

The death of baby Jennifer Anna McGarry, who suffered a spinal injury following a forceps-assisted delivery in the Coombe Hospital in 1991, went unreported.

"We just want the truth so this never happens to another woman," said Jennifer's mother, Catherina McGarry.

"It shouldn't have happened in the first place. Our daughter died and we have no children because of it."

Speaking after the inquest into their daughter's death was adjourned, she said she was glad the process had begun. "We are just glad, it's after taking 24 years now. Hopefully, we will get some good results," she said.

Jennifer's father, Stephen McGarry, said: "We don't want to comment further on it, we have been doing it ourselves up to now and we have legal help now."

Barrister for the McGarrys Ciaran Craven said the family had particular concerns about how baby Jennifer was treated and managed in the weeks before her death. Mr Craven said the family had waited 24 years for the matter to be ventilated and it was important that all aspects were fully examined.

Mr Craven said it was a travesty the inquest was being conducted 24 years later as had the death been reported in 1991, there would have been a full inquest.

Dublin Coroner's Court heard that the parents were "particularly exercised" over the management of their daughter's post-mortem and the removal and retention of her organs.


Noting the parents had already waited 24 years, Mr Craven applied for "a short adjournment" of the inquest.

"It's been a very long period and one does not want to add to it. However, a focused analysis and assessment will be in everyone's ease," Mr Craven said.

Barrister for the Coombe Hospital Simon Mills said the hospital had numerous meetings with the McGarrys and a report had been completed based on concerns raised at those meetings.

The hospital apologised to the parents last year.

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell adjourned the inquest for further mention to June 30.

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