Terms for Portiuncula births inquiry to be published ‘shortly’

Inquiry into delivery of seven oxygen-deprived babies last year, two of whom died

A HSE inquiry is to  cover the delivery of seven oxygen-deprived babies at Portiuncula  Hospital last year, two of whom died. File photograph: Getty Images

A HSE inquiry is to cover the delivery of seven oxygen-deprived babies at Portiuncula Hospital last year, two of whom died. File photograph: Getty Images

 

The HSE has said it will publish the terms of reference of an inquiry into problem deliveries at Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe “very shortly”.

The inquiry will cover the delivery of seven oxygen-deprived babies at the hospital last year, two of whom died.

The HSE appears to be resisting calls by eight other families to widen the inquiry’s scope to cover other problem births.

Warren Reilly, whose daughter Amber died a week after being born in Portiuncula in February 2010, said officials had told him the inquiry was likely to be limited to the seven cases identified last month.

Mr Reilly and his wife Lorraine, who have been campaigning for a widening of the inquiry, met officials from the Saolta University Hospitals Group, which includes Portiuncula, this week. He said they were told their case didn’t fit the criteria for the inquiry.

Oxygen deprivation

Disputing this, Mr Reilly pointed out Amber’s case was similar to the 2014 cases because it involved oxygen deprivation during labour, a failure to read CTG trace monitoring equipment correctly and the incorrect administration of drugs to manage labour.

It seems “our baby, and the babies of many other families that meet most or even all of the other criteria, just turned up too early. Our baby’s case, which they failed to learn lessons from . . . was dated not in the correct date range”.

“We are not talking about a story of 50 years ago here. Amber would have turned five just yesterday.”

Mr Reilly, from Loughrea, Co Galway, renewed his call on the HSE and Minister for Health Leo Varadkar to ensure the terms of reference of the inquiry are widened.