Prime Time Exposes Perinatal Death Scandal

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RTE’s Prime Time has exposed a perinatal death scandal in the Midland Regional Hospital, linking the deaths of at least four babies to negligence.

Recently, RTE’s Prime Time program aired an episode-“Fatal Failures”-that detailed four cases of perinatal death due to negligence of hospital staff at the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise.

One of the cases featured in the program-Mark Molloy of Tullamore, County Offaly-exposed how his parents had to fight for four months before an investigation was even launched into their infant son’s death. Roisin and Mark Molloy’s son died soon after he was delivered in the hospital in January 2012, and the couple were fed misinformation regarding the circumstances of his delivery and his subsequent death.

An independent clinical review was launched, which revolved that “failures in the standard of care provided were casually linked to the foetal hypoxia damage that occurred [and the death of baby Mark]”. This statement effectively shows that Mark had suffered avoidable perinatal damage death due to negligence.

The Midland Regional Hospital issued the family an apology and told the couple that neonatal deaths at the hospital are extremely rare. Later, Roisin heard an interview on the radio in which a Shauna Keyes was retelling the story of how she had lost her child at the very same hospital in similar circumstances to Mark’s. The two women got in touch with each other.

The RTE Investigation Unit researching for the show discovered that there were at least two further incidents of perinatal death due to negligence at the hospital, both of which had been investigated internally. The parents of the babies that died were never informed of the outcomes of these investigations. The RTE investigators also found that none of the measures that had been recommended following baby Mark’s death had been implemented by the hospital.

Dr Philip Crowley – the National Director of Quality & Patient Safety at the Health Service Executive (HSE) – appeared on the program, and commented that the delays in investigating Mark Molloy´s death and implementing procedures that would avoid perinatal death due to negligence were “lamentable” and he apologised on behalf of the HSE for the trauma the families had been through.

The Minister for Health – Dr James Reilly – also commented on the findings of the RTE investigators. Speaking on the Today radio program he said he had asked the Chief Medical Officer to conduct a further investigation into the failings of care at the hospital and described the four cases of perinatal death due to negligence as “utterly unacceptable”.

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