New details about care at Portlaoise hospital

Friday 04 April 2014 07.41
The HSE said that an 'independent review will be commenced shortly with appropriate input from the family'
The HSE said that an 'independent review will be commenced shortly with appropriate input from the family'

The RTÉ's Investigations Unit has revealed further evidence of the way some bereaved parents were dealt with at the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise.

Last January, an RTÉ investigation reported on the deaths of four babies at the hospital.

Fallout from RTÉ's Fatal Failures programme saw the chief medical officer publish a damning report, which found the maternity unit unsafe.

A Health Information and Quality Authority investigation is now under way at the hospital.

January's investigation uncovered a pattern of care failures at the hospital.

The key failing centred on the inability of staff to recognise or act on foetal distress, which is monitored using a CTG machine.

Hospital management repeatedly failed to act fully on recommendations to reduce this risk.

In December 2012, Amy Delahunt and Ollie Kelly from Borrisoleigh in Co Tipperary discovered they were expecting their first baby.

On 21 May 2013, at 34 weeks pregnant, Ms Delahunt noticed her baby was not as active as normal.

She went to Portlaoise hospital where her baby's heart rate was monitored on a CTG machine.

A couple of hours later she was discharged from the hospital.

When she went to her own hospital in Limerick the following morning she discovered her baby was dead.

Last December, Ms Delahunt and Mr Kelly attended a meeting with senior members of staff from the hospital.

They were told that the CTG had been analysed incorrectly and that Ms Delahunt should have had her baby delivered at the time of the CTG.

They were told the circumstances of their case were unusual and not a regular occurrence and that systems were put in place to ensure there was not a repeat of such a tragedy.

They also discovered a desktop review had been undertaken, but they were not provided with details of the review nor were they interviewed for the review.

The family accepted what they told.

However, they discovered there were other previous and similar cases when they watched the RTÉ Fatal Failures programme earlier this year.

In a statement, the Health Service Executive said the review process in relation to Ms Delahunt's case was "inadequate" and that an "independent review will be commenced shortly with appropriate input from the family".