The Health Service Executive has set up a helpline after a pregnant woman was given a misdiagnosis at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda that could have resulted in the death of her baby.

Melissa Redmond was told that her foetus was dead when in fact it was alive.

Mrs Redmond was given an abortive drug but decided to seek a second opinion that found no problem with her pregnancy.

A spokesperson for the hospital said the helpline was set up after a number of calls from concerned patients. The 1800-200529 helpline will open at 9am tomorrow morning.

Earlier, the HSE said the misdiagnosis was 'an extraordinarily rare event'.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mrs Redmond said she decided to go for another scan at a GP with her husband Michael.

That scan confirmed the foetus was still alive and baby Michael was born in March.

In a statement, the HSE said it had carried out a review following the misdiagnosis.

Recommendations included training junior doctors in the 'correct methodology of scanning for early pregnancy' and a consultant is engaged in a process of verification with all junior doctors involved in scanning to ensure their competency.

No patient will receive the abortive drug until a miscarriage has been confirmed by a qualified sonographer.

The review of the case also found several problems with equipment, including an examination couch, which the HSE says has since been replaced.

The scanning machine, which was used at the time of this incident, has now been taken out of service, although the HSE did not say how long after the incident that took place.

A qualified sonographer is to take up their position in the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit next month. They will be based in the unit from 9am to 1pm.