Woman's death prompts Rotunda review

Tue, Nov 20, 2012, 00:00

Master of the Rotunda Hospital, Dr Sam Coulter-Smith, says it is now reviewing its procedures for sharing information following the inquest into the death of Anna Byrne.

Mrs Byrne (35) from Dunboyne, Co Meath had suffered from depression and was 38 weeks pregnant when she went missing on March 7th this year. Her body was found off rocks at Howth the next day.

At her inquest yesterday, coroner Dr Brian Farrell said he would write to the Rotunda indicating the concerns of Mrs Byrne's husband about the separation of obstetric and mental health case notes for pregnant women. Mr Terry Byrne's legal team said he hoped that “his wife's death would not be in vain”.

Speaking this morning, Dr Coulter-Smith said he would “take on board” the comments of the coroner and the views of the family.

Regarding the sharing of mental health and obstetric notes, he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland “it may not be appropriate to have all of that information detailed in a patient's notes” from a confidentiality point of view.

He said the hospital had a system in place where mental health notes and obstetric notes had been separate for 16 years, and that had not caused a problem until now.

He said while there was no suggestion that there were any care issues involved in the hospital's treatment of Mrs Byrne, he said, “We will review this very carefully and if we think there are lessons that can be learned; then we'll take them on board”.

“If we feel we can do this better, then we will.”