Parents hope he will be seen as ‘catalyst for change’ in HSE
The family of baby Mark Molloy who died 22 minutes after his birth at Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise —but who was recorded as a stillbirth — settled a High Court action yesterday against the HSE.
Mark and Roisin Molloy, who have four sons, sued the HSE for emotional suffering and distress as a result of the death of baby Mark, their fifth child, two years ago.
Mark’s death and the deaths of three other babies at Midland Regional Hospital led to a Prime Time programme and a probe by the Health Information and Quality Authority into the safety, quality, and standards of maternity service at Portlaoise.
A report by chief medical officer Tony Holohan earlier this year into the deaths of the four babies at the hospital, between 2006 and 2012, found the maternity unit was unsafe and that babies and their families were treated in a poor, and at times, appalling manner, with limited respect, kindness, courtesy, and consideration.
Mr Justice Kevin Cross was yesterday told the Molloys’ case for damages had been settled and the judge approved one aspect of the case involving more than €25,000. The details of the final settlement are confidential.
Mark’s parents, outside court, said they had been brought out through the hospital back door after their son died two years ago, but he would now be remembered as the baby who was a catalyst for change in the health service. His legacy and that of other babies who have died would be the introduction of a new system requiring legal duty of open disclosure for all health care professionals is introduced.
“They utterly failed in their duty to Mark, and to us as parents,” said Mr Molloy.
He said ministers had given a commitment to start the process of the introduction of legal duty of open disclosure for all healthcare professionals. “Judging from what we have learned over the last three years, our experience in communication with the HSE, this has got to be the only way forward, and I would call on Minister Leo Varadkar and Minister Frances Fitzgerald to continue that work immediately.”
Roisin and Mark Molloy, of Castlebrack, Killeigh, Co Offaly had sued the HSE as a result of the death of Mark after he was born alive on January 24, 2012. Mark was delivered by caesarean section at 9.31am weighing 3.89kg but he was in a poor condition and attempts were made to resuscitate him.
Mark suffered a neonatal death but the HSE, the Molloys claimed, recorded the death as a stillbirth in the healthcare record.
There was an alleged a failure to ensure Mark was born earlier and by 7.30am at the latest.
The Molloys claimed Mark’s death was caused by the negligence and breach of duty of the HSE and that this was aggravated by the conduct of the HSE in relation to the recorded status of the bay’s death and the manner in which the Molloys’ enquiries and complaints were dealt with.
The HSE, it was alleged, failed to give a full and frank account of what caused the death of baby Mark and failed to carry out any timely investigation into the death and allegedly failed to keep accurate records of the labour and delivery.
It was further alleged, prior to receipt of the neo natal records on March 23, 2012, Mark’s death was misrepresented as a stillbirth and the pathologist who carried out the autopsy and the coroner had been told it was a stillbirth.
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