herald

Thursday 14 November 2019

'Tell us why our baby died after a life full of trauma and pain', parents plead

Simon and Sorcha McMahon at the preliminary hearing into the death of their tragic baby boy Henry John
Simon and Sorcha McMahon at the preliminary hearing into the death of their tragic baby boy Henry John

The parents of a newborn baby who died on their wedding anniversary hope that an inquest into their tragic son's death can help give them some answers.

Simon and Sorcha McMahon suffered the heartbreaking loss of Henry John in 2017.

He was born at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin on September 18.

However, he only survived for a matter of days, dying on September 23, the couple's first wedding anniversary.

Henry John suffered from a congenital heart condition and his parents were alerted to this at an early stage.

Outlook

The McMahons said they were advised that his condition, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, was operable and surgery to correct it carried high success rates.

The condition is rare and leaves the left side of the heart severely underdeveloped.

However, because of the optimistic outlook they were given, the couple expected their baby to live a full life.

The couple, from Stillorgan, yesterday attended a preliminary hearing into Henry John's death at Dublin Coroner's Court, where a date was set for a full inquest. Speaking afterwards, they said they want to know why their boy died.

"We knew our baby boy's life wasn't going to be without some challenges but we also knew that modern medicine could meet them," Ms McMahon said.

"Simon and I never expected that his life would be so short and to have been so full of trauma and pain.

"Our darling baby boy, Henry John, died six days after his delivery, the day of our first wedding anniversary, September 23, 2017.

"We just want answers now, as to how and why his life ended the way it did."

The couple and the infant's grandfather attended the hearing before coroner Dr Myra Cullinane, along with their legal representatives.

A list of witnesses has been drawn up and circulated to all parties involved.

They include a number of nursing staff and midwives, doctors and pathologist Dr Michael McDermott.

Neuropathologist Dr Jane Cryan was added to the witness list at the request of the family's legal team. Dr Cryan contributed to Dr McDermott's post-mortem report.

Dr Cullinane allocated two dates in July for the full inquest hearing.

"I am allocating one-and-a-half days, possibly two. It is hard to judge but the case certainly requires more than one day," the coroner said.

The hearing is scheduled to take place at Dublin Coroner's Court on July 8 and 9.

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