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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Parents of baby Caoimhe slam HSE for six-year wait for 'meaningless' apology

Joan and John Mulcair said the HSE put their bereaved family through six years of ‘torment’ while they waited for an apology
Joan and John Mulcair said the HSE put their bereaved family through six years of ‘torment’ while they waited for an apology
Baby Caoimhe died after birth

The parents of a baby girl who died in her mother's arms shortly after birth have slammed the HSE for making them wait six years for an apology.

Caoimhe Mulcair passed away just 27 minutes after her birth.

Her parents Joan and John Mulcair described the "nightmare" of holding their new-born baby and being told she was dying on February 11, 2009.

"We couldn't believe this was happening to us. The hurt and sorrow over comes you, you're never the same person again," Ms Mulcair told an inquest into the baby's death.

The first time the couple received an apology was on Monday - some six-and-a-half years after Caoimhe was born.

The HSE made repeated denials of liability, but finally made an out-of-court settlement with the Mulcairs last December with an admission of clinical negligence.

Yesterday, a jury at the inquest returned a verdict of medical misadventure.

The Mulcairs - of Corbally, Limerick - said the HSE should should be "ashamed of themselves for putting on ordinary decent family through the pain and torment" of waiting six years for an apology.

"The apology we were handed yesterday, at the last possible moment, is just another example of this disregard. It doesn't really mean anything now because it's too late," they said.

Failings

A letter was read out at the inquest on behalf of the CEO of the UL Hospitals Group Professor Colette Cowan.

In it she apologised for "the failings in care" provided to Joan and Caoimhe Mulcair and the "subsequent consequential upset distress and grief" the family has experienced.

The Mulcairs, who were featured Prime Time Investigates programme earlier this year, are calling for a full and open disclosure policy.

The inquest into baby Caoimhe's death heard that Joan Mulcair (44) had a healthy pregnancy.

She was admitted to University Maternity Hospital Limerick, with severe pains at 39 weeks pregnant on February 11, 2009 and was immediately taken to the labour ward and traces revealed decelerations of her baby's heart rate.

Dr Jamaleddin Abujennah the consultant paediatrician on duty on the night said he was told that Caoimhe was born with her umbilical chord around her neck.

However, Dr Mary Higgins - who performed a vacuum delivery - said she never saw this. Dr Abujennah said Caoimhe was pale and gasping for breath when she was immediately transferred to the Special Care Neo Natal Unit.

Despite all measure of resuscitation including maximum ventilation support, the baby remained in poor condition, and her parents were called.

Speaking after the verdict of medical misadventure, Caoimhe's father John Mulcair (44) broke down as he described his family's suffering.

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