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Couple Who Lost Baby Receives Apology from Hospital

newborn infantA couple that lost their baby in 1991 has received an apology from the hospital where the child was delivered.

Despite admission of medical mistakes that led to the baby’s injuries, the couple will not be receiving any type of compensation or opportunity for legal recourse at this time.

Cesarean delivery planned

On November 27, 1991, the mother was admitted to Coombe Hospital for the delivery of her first child. After an extended labor, the woman was told by hospital staff she would undergo a Cesarean section the next day to avoid complications with the birth. Instead, a registrar delivered the child vaginally on November 28 using forceps, which led to the child’s severed spine and subsequent death.

The mother reported to local officials and media that the delivery made her feel like her “whole insides were being pulled out.” Upon birth, the baby showed signs of trauma in the forceps injuries to her face and skull. The baby also appeared asphyxiated and was taken immediately to the specialist-care baby unit. Two-and-a-half months later, the child died from her injuries.

The parents further allege that after her death, the child’s spine and brain were removed from her body without her parents’ consent and used for organ donation. The parents did not learn of this occurrence until 2012, more than 20 years after the birth and death of their daughter. The hospital also admitted to this breach of protocol in their apology letter to the parents.

Since their daughter’s death, the couple has suffered seven miscarriages, likely due to the mother’s injuries during that fateful delivery. The father has told local media that the damage done to his wife “destroyed” her. The couple was never able to have more children after the ordeal.

HSE report comes 23 years later

The parents have now received a 124-page HSE report that acknowledges a series of mistakes made by Coombe Hospital staff that led to the death of the child and the injuries to the mother. The document apologizes to the couple while revealing the birth trauma suffered by the child. The report also admits the hospital failed to obtain proper authorization from the parents to donate the baby’s organs.

The review also concedes that the death of the child should have been reported at the time it occurred so that a full investigation by the coroner could have ensued. However, the report stops short of blaming a specific individual for the death. The registrar that performed the delivery has since resigned from the hospital and is now working in the UK. He described the birth as a “routine delivery” to investigatory.

The couple is now calling for a criminal investigation into the incident, telling local media someone should be held responsible for the mistakes and “heads should roll.” They have also requested a meeting with Minister of Health Leo Varadkar, which was denied.

However, the current coroner, Dr. Brian Farrell has assured the couple that an inquest into their daughter’s birth will now move forward and he is hopeful the inquest will reveal additional information.

  1. Independent, Criminal Probe Urged in “Botched Delivery” of Baby at Coombe Hospital,

  2. Irish Times, Coombe Hospital Apologizes to Couple over Baby’s Death in 1992,

  3. Mirror, Mum Reveals 23 Years of Heartache: “Our Baby’s Spine was Snapped and Her Organs were Secretly Removed,