Thursday 20 September 2018

Mum who lost her baby wants HSE boss to step down


Shauna Keyes from Tullamore, Co Offaly, holding a memorial card showing her baby son's footprints. Photograph: James Flynn/APX
Shauna Keyes from Tullamore, Co Offaly, holding a memorial card showing her baby son's footprints. Photograph: James Flynn/APX

A MOTHER of a baby that died at scandal-hit Portlaoise Hospital has called on HSE boss Tony O'Brien to resign.

The hospital and the HSE have been slammed in a Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) report where investigators interviewed the mothers of eight babies that died there.

In its report, HIQA said it can't guarantee that services in the Portlaoise Hospital are safe.

Roisin Molloy, whose son Mark died there in 2012, called for a raft of resignations, including that of Mr O'Brien.

Mrs Molloy said the HIQA report demonstrated that senior HSE officials knew maternity services at Portlaoise were unsafe but allowed the situation to continue.

Mrs Molloy and her husband Mark settled a legal action against the HSE for emotional suffering and distress last year.

Their son Mark died shortly after his birth, but his death was incorrectly recorded as a stillbirth. The Molloys claimed his death was caused by negligence and breach of duty.

Last night, Mr O'Brien insisted he will not be resigning.

"The bulk of the events, not all of them, happened before I was in my present role," he said, adding that he took the job "to make a range of changes to the HSE".

He said he has made "difficult choices to divert resources from some areas into acute hospitals to address the issues identified in the report. My view is that the actions I took are the right actions," he added.


Health Minister Leo Varadkar said HIQA spent a year completing the report and did not make findings against any individual.

"I do expect the HSE to take corporate responsibility for implementing the report's recommendations and also learning from it," he said.

The HIQA investigators heard accounts of grieving mothers in Portlaoise being reprimanded for crying - as this could upset others on the ward - and deceased babies being brought to them in a tin box covered by a blanket.

Another mum who lost a baby, Shuana Keyes, has said she has "forgiven" staff and said she believes it is "pointless" to ask for resignations. Shauna and her partner, Joey Cornally from Tullamore, Co Offaly lost their son Joshua an hour after he was delivered by Caesarean section on October 28 2009.

He was deprived of oxygen during birth because oxytocin had been used, despite a lowering foetal heartbeat.

She said the most traumatic thing about Joshua's birth and death was the lack of aftercare and at being "rushed out the door".

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