HSE apologises over failures in care of boy left brain damaged

Eoghan Dunne suffered sepsis after referral to Portiuncula Hospital with fever in 2012

The HSE has apologised to the family of a boy left severely brain damaged after what it admitted were failures in care provided to him at Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe, Co Galway.

In August 2012, 11-month-old Eoghan Dunne was referred to the hospital with a fever. Over a 12-hour period there was a progressive deterioration in his condition.

He developed sepsis, suffered cardiorespiratory arrest and multi-organ failure resulting in severe brain damage and he will require 24-hour care for the rest of his life.

The case was first reported in an RTÉ investigation in 2015. RTÉ said the apology was included in a report arising from a review of Eoghan's care which was shared with his family in recent weeks.


Eoghan’s injuries were the subject of an internal hospital review but his parents were totally unaware of that review until five months after its completion when in February 2015 it arrived at their home by registered post.

The Dunne family subsequently fought for a full and independent investigation of their case.

More than three years after the Saolta hospital group, which includes Portiuncula, agreed to an external review, the Dunne family has been provided with the findings.

RTÉ reported that it identified a number of significant failings, including a failure to recognise sepsis and a failure to escalate Eoghan’s care to a more senior decision maker.

It makes 14 recommendations, all of which the hospital group says have either been implemented or are in the process of implementation.

In a statement, the Saolta University Health Care Group said its chief clinical director had commissioned an external "systems analysis" review in October 2015 of the care provided to Eoghan Dunne in August 2012.

It confirmed it had provided the Dunne family with a copy of this review in May this year.

"The Saolta Group has apologised unreservedly and fully to the Dunne family for the failures in the care delivered to Eoghan.

"The general manager of Portiuncula University Hospital has also previously apologised to the family for the manner in which the internal hospital review of Eoghan's care was carried out and then notified to them and stated that this should not have occurred," the statement said.

“The systems analysis report provided last month to the Dunne family makes fourteen recommendations, all of which are either now fully implemented or are in the process of being implemented.

“Portiuncula University Hospital and the Saolta University Health Care Group again apologise unreservedly to Eoghan and the Dunne family for the failures in the care provided to him in August 2012.”