Rotunda Hospital apologises to couple whose child died in the womb

Maternity hospital admitted shortcomings in the treatment provided to the couple in 2010

Pauline Walley SC, for the couple, said the apology was part of the settlement of their action against the hospital. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Pauline Walley SC, for the couple, said the apology was part of the settlement of their action against the hospital. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

A Dublin maternity hospital has apologised at the High Court and admitted shortcomings in the treatment provided to a couple whose child died in the womb.

The apology was made on behalf of the Rotunda Hospital to Sarah Quigley and Dave Harding arising from the death of their son David, who was delivered stillborn in early September 2010.

Ms Quigley was a patient of the hospital during her pregnancy and the couple alleged the hospital failed to act when it was clear there were problems with the unborn child’s health. That alleged failure, they claimed, resulted in the infant’s death.

In an apology read before Mr Justice Anthony Barr on Wednesday, it was stated the staff and management of the hospital “sincerely apologises for the grief, upset,and distress caused to Ms Sarah Quigley and Mr David Harding arising from the death of their beloved son, David, as a consequence of the shortcomings in the management of the late stages of Ms Quigley’s pregnancy”.

The hospital also extended its deepest sympathies to the couple on “David’s sad passing”.

Pauline Walley SC, for the couple, said the apology was part of the settlement of their action against the hospital. No other details of the settlement were revealed.

Afterwards, speaking through their solicitor, Daniel Hughes, Hughes & Associates Solicitors, the couple said they welcomed the closure of “six years of very difficult and protracted litigation”.

The couple said they were “very happy that justice has been achieved and they can bring some closure to the matter.”

They also thanked family and friends for their support along with their legal representatives.

The court heard Ms Quigley was a patient at the hospital after booking in on April 2010.

The couple, of River Forest, Leixlip, Co Kildare, claimed their son was not delivered alive due to placental insufficiency, a complication of pregnancy when the placenta cannot deliver an adequate supply of nutrients and oxygen to the developing baby.

It was alleged the defendants ought to have known about the condition, failed to detect it, and, despite factors indicating the necessity for medical intervention, failed to act and deliver the baby by caesarean section.

The alleged failures, it was claimed, caused the baby to die in utero at just 40 weeks.

The court heard Ms Quigley presented at the hospital twice in August 2010.

On the first occasion she was complaining of pain and it was claimed a doctor dismissed her complaints, did not listen to her and and questioned her assertion she was 37 weeks pregnant.

The doctor had insisted Ms Quigley was just 34 weeks pregnant and did not arrange for a scan, it was claimed.

Ms Quigley returned to the hospital clinic two weeks later but, despite readings showing the baby was not thriving or developing as he should be, no intervention was made by the hospital, it was claimed.

The only thing suggested by the hospital was a follow up check a week later and, when the couple returned, they were informed the baby had died in utero and David was delivered stillborn on September 2nd, 2010.

The parents suffered great shock and emotional upset over the loss of their child, their health suffered and they were very upset at the manner in which they were treated by the defendant, it was claimed.

In its defence, the hospital had denied the couple’s claims.