A verdict of medical misadventure was returned yesterday into the death of an eight-day-old boy who suffered critically low oxygen deprivation during his birth at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda.
The inquest in Dundalk Coroner’s Court heard that infant Killian Lally Doyle had been in the breech position but this was not diagnosed until his mother, Kim, was in an advanced stage of labour. When it was diagnosed, she had an emergency caesarean section.
A post-mortem concluded Killian had died from intrapartum hypoxia or oxygen deprivation which caused multi-organ injury including brain damage.
The oxygen deprivation was due to compression of the umbilical cord, associated with hyper coiling of the umbilical cord, perinatal pathologist Dr John Gillan said.
Earlier in the inquest, obstetrician at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Dr Joseph O’Quigley, acknowledged that on the balance of probability it was more likely that the baby was breech when his mother arrived at the hospital and there was little doubt that the umbilical cord was compressed during birth.
The inquest also heard that once the second stage of labour had started, the foetal heart rate should have been monitored every five minutes and emergency monitoring should have been continuous, but that this wasn’t done.
Killian was born on the 20th of May 2013 and an MRI found no evidence of brain injury occurring before labour.
He had no genetic abnormalities and Mr Roger Murray, solicitor for Killian’s family, told the inquest there were ‘abundant’ signs that the incident occurred during labour.
He said it appeared both Dr Gillan and Dr Roger Malcolmson, who was retained by the family, agreed that what caused Killian’s death was perinatal asphyxia.
Dr Gillan said he had amended his findings, after being provided with Dr Malcomson’s opinion.
His original finding was of ante-natal asphyxia, but the amended one was that perinatal asphyxia, around the time of his birth, caused Killian to die.
“I cannot see any other verdict than medical misadventure,” the Coroner said, and he found that Killian died in the hospital on May 28, 2013 from intrapartum hypoxia due to acute compression of the umbilical cord.
Mr Simon Mills BL for the HSE extended sympathies on behalf of the HSE and the staff at Our Lady of Lourdes.
Speaking afterwards Mr Murray said: “The family reaction is one of complete vindication because they felt from the beginning that what had happened to Killian was as a consequence of a misdiagnoses of an undiagnosed breech.”
His mother Kim said: “We are satisfied with today’s outcome.
“We feel fully vindicated and really hope lessons have been learnt.”