Death of fifth baby linked to alleged scan failings

HSE review into case at Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise identified ‘inability’ to interpret CTG scan

 The Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise: Amy Delahunt’s baby was monitored for an hour and 20 minutes. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

The Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise: Amy Delahunt’s baby was monitored for an hour and 20 minutes. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Fri, Apr 4, 2014, 01:00



The death of a fifth baby has been linked to an alleged failure to correctly inte pret scans at the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise.

It has been alleged that the key failing in the deaths of the first four babies – which are being investigated by the Health Information and Quality Authority – centred on the inability of staff to recognise or act on foetal distress, which is monitored using a CTG machine. Last night, details of a fifth baby’s death were outlined on RTÉ’s Prime Time .

Amy Delahunt and Ollie Kelly from Borrisoleigh, Co Tipperary, told the programme that on May 21st last year – at 34 weeks pregnant – Ms Delahunt noticed her baby was not as active as normal.

She phoned the hospital she was attending in Limerick for maternity care. “I told them . . . I was worried there was something not right . . . so they said come in straight away and we’ll scan you. I said I’m actually in Portlaoise. Will I just go straight to my nearest hospital?”

The nearest hospital was the Midland Regional in Portlaoise, where Ms Delahunt attended the maternity assessment unit. They checked her baby by monitoring the heart rate on a CTG machine for an hour and 20 minutes. She was then discharged.

The following morning, at a routine scan at St Munchin’s Hospital in Limerick, it was established that the baby had died. A week later – on May 28th – baby Mary-Kate was delivered.


Case review
Last September, Ms Delahunt and Mr Kelly went to the Limerick hospital for a review of their case. Their consultant had spoken to a doctor in Portlaoise hospital. “She had advised him she wasn’t happy with the CTG and said if she had seen me on the day of the case the file had been brought to her attention that she wouldn’t have let me leave the hospital and she would have delivered our baby if necessary,” said Ms Delahunt.

Dr Miriam Doyle of Portlaoise Hospital was the consultant on duty the day Ms Delahunt went to hospital with reduced foetal movement but she had no involvement in her clinical care. In an audio recording, Dr Doyle told the family that she believed the CTG tracings were abnormal.

A HSE review concluded an “inability . . . to interpret the CTG properly” was a problem.