herald

Sunday 17 November 2019

Baby found trapped under dying mum loses fight for life

Cork University Maternity
Cork University Maternity

A baby found critically injured underneath his dying mother in a room at a Cork maternity hospital has lost his battle for life.

The newborn died shortly before 7pm last night despite desperate efforts over two days by Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) doctors to stabilise his condition.

Staff found the 48-hour-old infant critically injured underneath his unresponsive mother on the floor of a single room in a ward on Monday morning. Health chiefs are treating her death as a tragic accident.

The woman, named locally as Margaret Downey (36), was originally from Kilmallock, Co Limerick, and has two other children. One source indicated she was a technician in the bio-pharmaceuticals industry.

An investigation is now under way at CUMH into the circumstances of the tragedy.

The baby boy was found seriously injured beside and underneath his mother shortly after 7am on Monday.

He had been born at the weekend and it is believed he was being breastfed when the freak accident occurred.

Seizure

One theory is that Ms Downey was suddenly taken ill and may have fallen out of bed as she tried to seek help or reach a toilet.

It is feared she may have suffered some kind of seizure and fallen on to the floor with the infant being partly trapped underneath her.

A post-mortem examination was carried out at Cork University Hospital yesterday on the mother, but it is expected to be some time before a precise cause of death is confirmed.

A file will be submitted to Cork coroner Philip Comyn for an inquest early next year.

CUMH was opened just over a decade ago and is considered Ireland's most modern maternity hospital.

The mother had been checked by staff a short time before she was found on the floor.

Emergency resuscitation was carried out but she could not be revived.

The South/Southwest Hospital Group of the HSE described the incident as tragic.

Counselling and support services have been put in place for the woman's family.

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