Mother of Baby X says revelations 'reopened wounds'

Wednesday 12 February 2014 09.49
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Katelyn McCarthy's parents were unaware of the investigation into her death in 2006
Katelyn McCarthy's parents were unaware of the investigation into her death in 2006
Sharon McCarthy said the revelations 'felt like the funeral all over again'
Sharon McCarthy said the revelations 'felt like the funeral all over again'

The mother of a baby girl whose death at the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise was investigated without her knowledge has described her shock at learning of the inquiry.

The recent RTÉ Investigations Unit report Fatal Failures revealed details of an investigation into the deaths of a number of babies either during labour or shortly after in Portlaoise Hospital.

During its investigation, RTÉ discovered that the Health Service Executive carried out reviews into the circumstances of three maternity cases at the hospital (Baby X, Baby Y, Baby Z).

Baby X died in September 2007 following complications during her birth in November 2006, Baby Y was Joshua Keyes who was identified in the programme, and Baby Z who was born in 2010, survived.

At the time of the broadcast, the families of Baby X and Baby Z had not been told of the investigations into their cases.

Following the broadcast, Sharon McCarthy discovered that her baby daughter, Katelyn, was Baby X.

She told RTÉ's Prime Time that her sister had been watching the documentary when some of the scenes became familiar.

Ms McCarthy said: "She was very upset when she rang me, she was crying and she said please, please ring them."

Following the birth of her daughter, Ms McCarthy said she was told her baby was swallowing meconium and she was being moved to the special care unit.

She said: "I noticed when I went into her when she was in the incubator she would be making very abnormal movements with her hands.

"She went for a CAT scan and we found out then she had brain damage."

Ms McCarthy said despite contacting the hospital, the family received no answers.

"I even got my solicitor on to it and she was getting nowhere," she said. "And that was going on two-and-a-half, three years with the solicitor and I was wondering then, why is it?

"She hit a brick wall basically."

Ms McCarthy said revelations that the HSE had investigated the circumstances of the death "reopened all the wounds".

"It felt like the funeral all over again for us, emotionally," she explained.

She said the family had blamed itself following the death of Katelyn, but she hoped the investigation would provide justice.