Consultants and hospital apologise over death of baby

‘He met his extended family, was named and baptised. He passed away two days later’, says father David Dodd as Mount Carmel Hospital admits fault

Roberta Dodd looks on as her husband David reads a statement outside the High Court today after a maternity hospital apologised to the couple over the death of their baby son Senan Dodd. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Roberta Dodd looks on as her husband David reads a statement outside the High Court today after a maternity hospital apologised to the couple over the death of their baby son Senan Dodd. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Tue, Jan 21, 2014, 14:27

A private maternity hospital and two consultant obstetricians have expressed sincere apologies at the High Court to the parents of a baby boy who died soon after his birth.

Mount Carmel Hospital and consultant obstetricians Valerie Donnelly and Gerry Rafferty also acknowledged fault in the management of Roberta Dodd’s labour leading to the death of her son, Senan.

The hospital in Churchtown, Dublin and the consultants sincerely apologised to Senan’s parents, David and Roberta Dodd, for the tragic loss of their baby and the hurt and suffering that resulted for both of them from the care provided on that occasion.

The apology was read out in the High Court as the Dodds, from Ticknock Dale, Ticknock, Sandyford, Dublin settled their action for mental distress and nervous shock for an undisclosed sum.

The couple had sued the hospital and consultants Valerie Donnelly and Gerry Rafferty following the death of Senan two days after he was born at the hospital on March 28th, 2008.

The court heard the couple had suffered profound psychological repercussions as a result and their own case for mental distress had been settled for an undisclosed sum.

The two obstetricians, the court was told, had failed to correctly interpret a foetal heart trace which showed the baby was in distress.The trace showed the baby’s heart rate was slowing at 3.50pm on the afternoon of March 28th, but he was not delivered until four hours later.

The court was told an expert witness would have given evidence that, had Senan been delivered within an hour or even an hour and a half of the slow heart rate being detected, he would have escaped injury.

The court heard the obstetricians continued to administer oxytocin, a drug to speed up contractions.

It also heard there were no facilities in the hospital at the time to take a foetal blood sample.

The child was deprived of oxygen, suffered brain damage, and died on March 30th.

In a statement outside court, David Dodd said the death of Senan was “sadly avoidable”.

“He was a beautiful healthy baby boy. Having suffered catatstorophic brain injury arising from the management of the birth in Mount Carmel, Senan was transferred in the early hours of the morning by ambulance to Holles Street Hospital to receive treatment there. He met his extended family, was named and baptised. He passed away two days later”.