Coroner 'not told' of death of baby Bronagh


The coroner for Co Cavan yesterday expressed surprise at the fact that he was never informed of the death of baby Bronagh Livingstone.

Mr Paul Kelly said he only learned of the premature baby's death at Cavan General Hospital when watching a news bulletin on the evening of December 12th, more than a day after the death occurred in controversial circumstances.

The baby had been born to Ms Denise Livingstone (32) in an ambulance during a 25-mile journey from Monaghan General Hospital to a hospital in Cavan after she was refused admission at Monaghan hospital shortly after 5 a.m. on December 11th. Maternity services were suspended at Monaghan hospital last year and this had resulted in staff ordering her transfer to Cavan General Hospital, even though she was in an advanced state of labour.

An independent inquiry into her treatment and the circumstances surrounding the death of her baby was ordered by the Minister for Health. It said Ms Livingstone should not have been transferred to Cavan and should have been allowed give birth at Monaghan hospital.

An inquiry was also conducted by the North Eastern Health Board. The board's medical adviser, Dr Finbar Lennon, noted in his review of the case that a post-mortem should have been carried out on the dead baby "notwithstanding the fact that the family declined permission ... and that the coroner was advised about the case". Details of his review were published in The Irish Times yesterday.

Last night Mr Kelly contacted The Irish Times to say that Dr Lennon's report was incorrect and that he had not, as stated, been advised about the case. "In fact I was surprised that nobody had been in contact with me about it", he said.

"There is a rule of practice that a death which occurs within 24 hours of admission to a hospital is reported to a coroner. However, there is no statutory obligation to do this. But given the practice that has grown up I would have expected to have been informed," he said.