The National Director of Quality & Patient Safety at the Health Service Executive – Dr Philip Crowley – has apologised to four families whose babies died due to childbirth medical negligence at the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise.
Dr Crowley´s apology was made prior to the broadcasting of RTE´s Prime Time “Fatal Failures” program – an exposé of the failings in care at the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise which resulted in the avoidable deaths of four babies during the last six years.
The program featured Roisin and Mark Molloy from Tullamore in County Offaly, whose son Mark died as a consequence of foetal hypoxia in the womb soon after his delivery on January 24th 2012. The couple had to battle with the hospital for four months before it was conceded that Mark had a heartbeat when he was born, and an investigation into his death was initiated.
Even then, it took a further twenty months to conclude the investigation – a delay which was described by Dr Crowley as “lamentable” – which ultimately reported that “failures in the standard of care provided were casually linked to the foetal hypoxia damage that occurred”. The report recommended a number of actions to prevent the same mistakes happening again.
However, a short time later, Roisin Molloy was listening to the radio when she heard Shauna Keyes recount how her son – Joshua – had died soon after his birth at the Midland General Hospital in similar circumstances. The two women got in touch with each other and RTE´s Investigation Unit picked up the story.
The RTE Investigation Unit discovered there were at least two further incidents of babies dying after birth due to childbirth medical negligence – both of which had been investigated internally at the hospital, but the results of the investigations never delivered to the grieving parents. The RTE investigators also disclosed that none of the recommended measures following baby Mark Molloy´s death had been implemented and, if they had, all three of the childbirth fatalities could have been avoided.
Appearing in the program, Dr Philip Crowley apologised “unequivocally” to the parents who had lost children due to childbirth medical negligence and, appearing on the radio show Today, the Minister for Health – Dr James Reilly – also commented that the level of service provided at the Midland Hospital in Portlaoise was “utterly unacceptable”. The Minister said that he had asked the Chief Medical Officer to conduct a further investigation into the failings of care at the hospital.