Dismay at events before baby death

The mother of a baby who died seven days after his birth revealed her dismay at the chain of events which led to the tragedy.

Catherine Clancy, aged 36, of Ballybaun, Headford, Co Galway, was giving evidence at the inquest into the death of her child, Oisin, at Galway University Hospital on Jan 7.

Witnesses told the court Oisin died from streptococcus A meningitis.

Ms Clancy said she had a vaginal swab on the advice of her GP, Grace Doyle, a month before her baby was born, but never received the results. It later emerged she tested positive for streptococcus B.

While the results were sent electronically to the GP’s practice, they were downloaded butapparently not viewed or relayed to Ms Clancy. It was unclear which doctor downloaded the results.

The normal course of events would be that the doctor who downloaded the results would contact the patient.

Ms Clancy said she only learned of the positive test from a nurse some hours after Oisin was born a healthy baby at Galway Hospital on Dec 30.

Ms Clancy said that, in a meeting after her son’s death, she was told the results had been noticed just 20 minutes before delivery and medics decided it was too late to administer antibiotics at that point.

Mother and baby were monitored in the hospital for 48 hours before discharge, but Oisin became unwell at home on Dec 6. Ms Clancy and husband David became concerned and called the Westdoc out of hours GP services.

The couple said they phoned several times but were “fobbed off”.

A doctor eventually diagnosed a distended stomach and gas. They were given a suppository and sent home&.

Oisin became lifeless at home and was rushed to hospital, where he was treated for suspected meningitis, but died.

West Galway coroner Ciaran MacLoughlin asked that Mr Clancy’s phone records be accessed to pinpoint the number and time of calls made between his home and Westdoc.


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