'Hospital staff saved my baby's life' - Lucinda Creighton
RENUA leader Lucinda Creighton has told how maternity staff saved her baby's life when she gave birth to her first child.
The TD said her baby, Gwendoline, suffered an accelerated heartbeat, but expressed her relief that she was in the National Maternity Hospital on Holles Street.
She said she was acutely aware of the problems encountered by the five women who lost their babies in Portlaoise Hospital.
Ms Creighton had introduced the women to the Oireachtas health committee when she was eight months pregnant, little realising her own baby would suffer birth complications.
"Thankfully, I was under the fantastic care of Prof Mick Foley and an amazing team in Holles Street," she said yesterday.
"The one thing that went through my mind during that experience was 'thank God I am in Holles Street'.
Dr Tony O'Brien
"There was such care and attention to detail. When things went seriously wrong they saved my baby's life.
"If only the care I received had also been afforded to the babies in Portlaoise, their babies would also be alive.
"It is a stark reality and one I find deeply upsetting," Ms Creighton said.
She said she took the word of Health Minister Leo Varadkar that the Portlaoise Hospital report would not sit on the shelf - but said so many others have not been implemented over the years.
Mr Varadkar, junior minister Kathleen Lynch and director general of the HSE Tony O'Brien, appeared before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children yesterday.
Ms Creighton asked Mr O'Brien if he should now "fall on his sword". He said he will respond to the report in full next week.
Mr Varadkar said he is ashamed at the manner patients were treated at Portlaoise hospital. Earlier this week, he met families whose babies died at the Laois hospital and was told of their ordeals.
Health Minister Leo Varadkar
HIQA investigators found that some mothers who lost babies were told in the hospital to stop crying as it would upset other new mums.
The HIQA report had strong criticisms of how the deaths of babies were handled by some staff in the hospital.
The minister conceded that some patients and their families were treated "dreadfully and at times inhumanely" and said an independent patient advocacy service will be "crucial" in supporting patients and changing the culture at the hospital.