Hospital apology in baby death case ‘too late’

“It’s a total disgrace what we had to do to obtain justice for our innocent baby Caoimhe.”

That was the damning verdict against the HSE given by a Limerick couple who had to endure six years of “pain and torment” after their newborn died in 2009 at the then Mid-Western Regional Hospital. A jury at Limerick Coroners Court yesterday returned a verdict of medical misadventure.

Speaking outside the court, Caoimhe’s parents, John and Joan Mulcair, said: “The persons involved should be ashamed of themselves for putting an ordinary decent family through the pain and torment that we had to endure for over six years.”

Mr Mulcair said he hoped the days of people being kept in the dark by hospital management were over.

“A full and open disclosure and a legal obligation on HSE staff to explain what happened in catastrophic outcomes is what we want to see in the future,” he said.

The HSE, he said, must learn from their mistakes.

Hospital apology in baby death case ‘too late’

Joan and John Mulcair

Mr Mulcair added: “We are bound to see many more of these tragic cases in the future if hospitals do not change their ways.”

Evidence was given that one hospital report into Caoimhe’s death stated she had suffered a lack of oxygen to the brain when her mother went into labour.

Mr Mulcair said the role of a maternity hospital is to bring precious children into the world safely.

“When they cannot do that for whatever reason, that hospital has to take responsibility,” he said. “This is especially so when there is confusion over the cause of death. Nobody is going to accept that nothing medically possible could be done for a perfectly healthy baby dying anymore.”

After the hearing, a letter of apology from the CEO of University Limerick Maternity Hospital group, Prof Colette Cowan, was read.

Mr Mulcair said: “The apology we were handed yesterday, at the last possible moment, is just another example of their disregard.

“It doesn’t really mean anything now to me and Joan, because it’s too late. We should have received an explanation and an apology six years ago. We wouldn’t be here today if we did.”


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