Mother whose baby died felt her concerns were 'belittled' by hospital staff

A mother whose baby died shortly after birth said her concerns were "belittled" on the labour ward. Baby Luke Cox Coghlan was born at the National Maternity Hospital on Holles Street in Dublin on 6.05am on December 28, 2016. He was pronounced dead less than half an hour later despite efforts to save his life.

The infant’s mother, Nicola Cox Coghlan told an inquest at Dublin Coroner's Court that she expressed concerns for her baby’s growth rate several times.

“I knew our baby was not growing. I would have thought it natural to escalate this to consultant level. I’ve been left with a lot of questions as a result,” Mrs Cox Coghlan said.

Baby Luke was due on December 31, 2016. Towards the end of her pregnancy Mrs Cox Coghlan felt her baby’s growth had slowed.

“The growth of the baby was sluggish but nobody reacted to that,” she said. She said it was not the size of the baby, but the the fact his growth had slowed that was causing her concern.

Mrs Cox Coghlan had previously given birth to a baby boy, Finn, in 2014. Baby Luke was her second pregnancy. She has since given birth to a healthy baby girl.

She went into labour on December 28 and ‘felt awful’ on arrival at hospital.

“I was concerned. Staff were so busy, everyone appeared under pressure. I was asked if I was a first time mum and I felt this belittled my concerns,” she said.

There was a full staff of midwives on duty at Holles Street, half of whom were newly qualified, the inquest heard.

In the labour ward, staff became concerned over the baby’s heart rate which had slowed. A fetal scalp electrode was applied and showed the baby’s heart had slowed to between 70 and 80 beats per minute. Baby Luke was born by instrumental delivery at 6.05 am. He was pale and not breathing.

His demise was ‘completely unexpected’ Obstetric Gynaecologist Dr Aoife Morris said.

Staff continued efforts to save his life until he was pronounced dead 23 minutes later at 6.28am.

“I didn’t know what was going on,” Mrs Cox Coghlan said.

The inquest before Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane continues tomorrow with pathology evidence due to be heard.

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