Hospital probe after death of two newborns in Galway hospital

Maternity services at a Galway hospital have become the latest to be probed following the deaths of two babies and oxygen deprivation to five others.

In a statement late last night, Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe, which is part of the Saolta University Health Care Group, said: “The review of the care delivered to seven babies who experienced negative perinatal outcomes found that there were two infant mortalities and a further five babies had evidence of oxygen deprivation [hypoxia] during delivery.”

It said apparent deficiencies in care were identified “which included interpretation and review of CTG tracings; administration of drugs to accelerate labour; and instrumental delivery”.

The deliveries are understood to have taken place between February and November last year.

The hospital group said that, on December 4, it initiated “corrective measures” to address the quality of care issues that had been identified.

“Since then, in repeated reaudits, the hospital has confirmed the on-going full implementation of the corrective measures,” it said. “Additional training has been provided to all maternity staff and additional senior supervision is being provided to both medical and midwifery staff.”

It said it was satisfied there were no continuing patient safety concern arising from the issues identified.

“There have been no negative perinatal outcomes at Portiuncula Hospital Ballinasloe since the enhanced monitoring measures were put in place,” it said.

“In line with the requirement of the HSE ‘Open Disclosure’ policy, the seven families affected are being contacted by the hospital and appointments made where requested for consultations with medical staff and support services.”

The hospital group said following an initial internal review, the families are being advised that their babies’ cases will be part of an in-depth review that has been initiated by Portiuncula Hospital Ballinasloe-Saolta University Health Care Group. “The review will be conducted by an independent expert team and will include a patient representative,” the group said. “The seven affected families will be consulted on the terms of reference and the review team will engage with the seven families as part of the process.”

A report on the review findings is expected to be completed within the next three months and will be presented to the HSE and the Minister for Health.

“Portiuncula Hospital Ballinasloe-Saolta University Health Care Group regrets any distress this process may cause to the families involved and to other service users and in particular wishes to sympathise with the families of the two babies who died,” the group said. “Portiuncula Hospital Ballinasloe-Saolta University Health Care Group offer any services that they may require to support them in dealing with the issues that arise.”

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