'My wallet was robbed as I gave birth to our son'
A MOTHER has had her wallet, phone and business bank cards stolen at one of the country's main maternity hospitals while she was giving birth to a baby boy.
Jill Leonard and Adrian O'Connor were delighted with the arrival of their son, Kane, at University Maternity Hospital in Limerick last Friday.
However, upon returning to her ward, the proud mother discovered that her wallet – containing bank cards, cash, driver's license and other belongings, including her smart phone – had been stolen.
Today, the HSE told the Herald that they do not comment on individual cases, but confirmed that the incident happened.
The theft has been reported to gardai and investigations are ongoing.
"We never discuss hospital security measures on the grounds that to do so might compromise their effectiveness," the HSE spokesman said.
The crime happened last Friday between 7.30pm and 9pm while Ms Leonard (32) gave birth by Caesarean section.
"It certainly changed the day for us, unfortunately. I felt sick, it's hard to even talk about it," she said.
"When we came back to the ward from the delivery room, Adrian noticed after a while that a few things were gone – my phone, my wallet with everything in it. And then we realised we had been robbed at the time that I was giving birth," she said.
The couple have another son, Jack (two), who was born in the US.
They moved to Clare two years ago where Mr O'Connor is from and run the Black Umbrella Photography company.
"I had my own personal bank cards and the company bank cards in the wallet that was taken," Ms Leonard said.
"There was also the company banking details and there would have been other details to work out where we lived and the fact that we have cameras and other equipment."
She said while being robbed as she gave birth to her son was a very unpleasant and upsetting experience, it had not coloured her view of Ireland.
"This could happen anywhere, not just Ireland," she told the Irish Times.
In a statement, the HSE said "in common with every major hospital in the country, we strongly discourage patients from bringing valuables such as cash, cards and smart phones with them".
Garda investigations are continuing.