Inquest opens into death of baby at Limerick hospital

Amy Delahunt tells court they were ‘overjoyed’ to be expecting daughter Mary Kate Kelly

An inquest has opened in Limerick into the death of a baby girl who died just a day after her mother was told at the maternity unit in Portlaoise hospital that everything was perfectly normal and she had nothing to worry about.

The baby's mother Amy Delahunt, from Borroisoleigh, Co Tipperary, broke down several times as she recounted the events leading up to the stillborn birth of her daughter Mary Kate Kelly at the Maternity Hospital in Limerick, on May the 28th, 2013.

The secondary school teacher told the inquest she and her partner Ollie Kelly had been trying for many years to start a family and were overjoyed when they finally conceived with the help of fertility treatment.

Everything was normal in her pregnancy and she had reached 34 weeks, the third trimester, and was attending the maternity hospital in Limerick.


However, she became worried about a lack of baby movements on May 21st, 2013, and went straight to the maternity unit at Portlaoise, located five minutes from the school where she was working as a secondary teacher.

She was attended by a midwife and by a doctor there, who reassured her everything was normal.

Her baby was also monitored on CTG, a cardio monitor which gives a trace or graph of the baby’s foetal movements.

In her evidence to the coroners court, Ms Delahunt revealed how she was later told a senior consultant should have been consulted about the CTG trace which was not normal, and the lack of foetal movement which was was automatically a worrying system.

She described the devastating moment she and her partner were told by midwives at a scheduled appointment in Limerick maternity hospital on May 22nd that they could not find a heartbeat on the scan.

Ms Delahunt had to wait six more days before she gave birth to her baby.

Ms Delahunt told how she was informed in a follow-up meeting by a consultant at Portlaoise hospital in December 2013 that this had never happened in her 18 years at the hospital before.

However, last January the couple saw a Prime Time programme on RTÉ television and saw there had been four other deaths at the maternity unit in Portlaoise, which had a number of themes common with Mary Kate's case, including the CTG trace and the failure to refer her to a consultant.

Up to then her parents believed the death of their baby was due to human error.

“If I had known what I know about Portlaoise now I wouldn’t have gone next or near the place,” Ms Delahunt told the inquest.

The inquest is continuing.