Parents of stillborn twin receive apology from Rotunda Hospital

By Louise Roseingrave

A Dublin maternity hospital has apologised to the parents of a stillborn baby whose identical twin survived. Baby Ethan Carson was born unresponsive and pronounced dead 15 minutes later despite best efforts to save his life on September 11, 2015. His twin brother Andrew turns three this September.

“We have had to fight for two years and nine months to uncover the truth and finally get answers as to what happened to our baby Ethan," the Carson family said in their statement. Speaking after an inquest into baby Ethan's death at Dublin Coroner's Court, the family said the twins had grown in 'perfect unity.'

"What should have been one of the happiest days of our lives turned into utter devastation. Ethan and Andrew grew alongside each other in perfect unity. They were absolute mirror images of each other. Andrew has been denied a lifetime of memories he should be sharing with his brother,” the family stated.

The Rotunda Hospital apologised to the baby’s parents for the distress they suffered at the loss of baby Ethan.

“The care afforded to you on September 10 and 11 2015 fell below the standard we would expect and aspire to,” the hospital stated in its apology.

The hospital noted that cardiotocography (CTG) tracings of the baby’s heartbeat and fetal monitoring in particular fell below expected standards.

Baby Ethan's mother Barbara Carson, from Castleknock in Dublin, was admitted to hospital on September 9 2015 due to a suspected deep vein thrombosis.

The twins were born by Cesarean section at 2.33pm and 2.34pm two days later but Ethan was pronounced dead shortly after birth.

In her autopsy Pathologist Dr Emma Doyle found the baby died due to a complication of the umbilical cord that had gone undiagnosed.

Staff at the Rotunda found no evidence of any complications prior to the birth, despite repeated CTG tracings.

At autopsy, the pathologist identified a condition known as velamentous cord. This left the umbilical cord more vulnerable because it had inserted into the fetal membranes and not the placenta. Dr Doyle found evidence of compression of the cord, which in turn affected the baby’s oxygen levels. The autopsy revealed evidence of brain damage due to a lack of oxygen that affected the baby in the 24 hours before birth. Dr Doyle also found evidence of impaired fetal blood flow for up to a week before birth. The cause of death was brain damage due to vascular compression of a previously undiagnosed velamentous cord.

“Ultimately he died due to a lack of oxygen,” Dr Doyle said.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane returned a narrative verdict setting out the circumstances of the death.

Speaking after the inquest, Raymond and Barbara Carson thanked their friends and family and their legal team.

“The hospital’s apology speaks for itself," they said.

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