Two women die in Caesarean childbirth in Coombe hospital
TWO MOTHERS died in childbirth in the Coombe women’s hospital in Dublin last week within 48 hours of each other.
In both cases, the deaths occurred shortly after the women had delivered their children by Caesarean section, according to informed sources.
Maternal death is extremely rare in Ireland and the rest of the developed world, but for two such deaths to occur in the same hospital in such a short period of time is unparalleled in Ireland in recent times.
Before last week, the Coombe had recorded five maternal deaths in the previous 11 years.
A spokeswoman for the hospital confirmed last night that the two deaths had taken place and that both cases had been referred to the Dublin City Coroner.
She declined to give further details but it is understood that both the deceased women’s children are alive.
“The hospital is committed to act in the best interests of each of its patients at all times. As patient welfare and privacy is top priority at the hospital, it cannot comment on or discuss details of individual patients,” she said.
In one of the cases, the woman developed suddenly catastrophic complications shortly after delivering her child by Caesarean section. The woman is believed to be Irish and it was not her first pregnancy.
No further details were available about the second case last night.
Master of the hospital Dr Chris Fitzpatrick extended his sympathy and condolences to the families of the women on behalf of the board, management and staff of the hospital.
Postmortems have taken place in both cases and the results will form part of the coroner’s reports.
More than 9,000 mothers deliver children each year at the Coombe, while 1,000 infants are admitted to the neonatal unit.
The hospital says that out of 103,995 mothers delivered in recent years, there have been five maternal deaths, equivalent to 0.005 per cent. None of these previous deaths was directly related to pregnancy.
The most recent clinical report for the hospital for 2010 records one maternal death due to Aids-related lymphoma.
Three maternal deaths are recorded in the clinical report of the Rotunda Hospital for the same year.
This was the highest number of patient deaths in a decade. There were two such deaths last year at the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street.
Maternal death is defined by the World Health Organisation as the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy. Death is due either to indirect causes or to a cause that can be directly linked to the pregnancy.
An estimated 600,000 maternal deaths occur each year, most of them in the developing world. Ireland’s rate of maternal death, at six per 100,000, is extremely low by international standards.