Husband of Coombe-vaccinations critic claims hospital trying to silence her

Hospital seeking to ‘threaten’ consultant Deirdre Murphy, husband writes to Minister

The husband of a hospital consultant at the Coombe hospital has claimed that its board is trying to silence his wife over her criticism of the controversial Covid-19 vaccinations of relatives of staff.

Tom Fahey, a professor of general practice at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, has written to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly complaining about the hospital's treatment of his wife, Prof Deirdre Murphy, professor of obstetrics at Trinity College Dublin and a consultant at the Coombe, after she criticised the hospital's response to the vaccinations of the family members.

The board of the Dublin hospital has said the vaccinations of 16 relatives of staff with doses left over on the night of January 8th – including two family members vaccinated by a doctor at home – were “mistakes” and should not have happened.

Internal tensions

The controversy has led to internal tensions within the hospital. Prof Murphy called for the master of the hospital, Prof Michael O’Connell, who had two family members vaccinated, to resign in an April 7th letter circulated to senior medics at the hospital.


She has also written to the Minister and Health Service Executive chief Paul Reid.

The chair of the Coombe board, Mary Donovan, wrote to Prof Murphy on April 14th, telling her that the circulation of her concerns to a significant number of people was "entirely inappropriate".

She accused her of causing the hospital reputational damage and that “as an employee” there were “avenues available” for her to raise concerns internally and that “these must be followed”.

Prof Murphy replied on April 20th telling Ms Donovan that the reputational damage had been caused by those who chose to vaccinate their family members on the night in question.

‘Sorry episode’

“It would be helpful if the board focused on the source of the problem rather than on an individual who is attempting to salvage some integrity from this sorry episode.”

Her husband, Prof Fahey, told Mr Donnelly in a letter sent on Monday that Ms Donovan's letter was an attempt to "threaten" and "isolate" Prof Murphy in the Coombe.

He has also claimed that the attendance for three non-medical board members at a meeting of medical consultants at the hospital on April 20th was an attempt to prevent her speaking out.

In response to queries, a spokeswoman for the hospital said the board took what happened with the vaccinations “extremely seriously and has started a process to address the implications”.

“As that process is ongoing, the hospital has no further comment,” she said.

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is News Editor of The Irish Times