Hospital sorry after child dies in womb

A Dublin maternity hospital has apologised to a couple and admitted its shortcomings in the treatment it provided to a couple whose child died in the womb.

The apology was made on behalf of the Rotunda Hospital to Sarah Quigley and Dave Harding arising out of the death of their son David, who was delivered stillborn in early September 2010.

The couple alleged the hospital’s failure to act when it was clear there were problems with the unborn child’s health had resulted in the infant’s death. At the time, Ms Quigley and her unborn child were patients of the hospital.

In an apology read before Mr Justice Anthony Barr at the High Court, the staff and management of Rotunda Hospital “sincerely apologises for the grief, upset, and distress caused to Ms Sarah Quigley and Mr David Harding arising from the death of their beloved son, David, as a consequence of the shortcomings in the management of the late stages of Ms Quigley’s pregnancy”.

The hospital also extended its deepest sympathies to the couple on “David’s sad passing”.

Pauline Walley, for the couple, said the apology was part of the settlement of their action against the hospital. No other details of the settlement were revealed in open court, and the terms are understood to be confidential.

Afterwards, speaking through Daniel Hughes of Hughes & Associates Solicitors, the couple said they welcomed the closure of “six years of very difficult and protracted litigation”.

The couple said they are “very happy that justice has been achieved and they can bring some closure to the matter”.

The couple, of River Forest, Leixlip, Co Kildare, claimed their son was not delivered alive due to placental insufficiency; a complication of pregnancy when the placenta cannot deliver an adequate supply of nutrients and oxygen to the developing baby.

The defendants, it was alleged, ought to have known about the condition, but failed to detect it, and, despite the presence of factors indicating the necessity for medical intervention, failed to act and deliver the baby by caesarian section.

Their actions, it was further claimed, caused the baby to die in utero at 40 weeks. The court heard Ms Quigley had presented at the hospital twice in August 2010. On the first occasion she was complaining of pain.

It was claimed on that occasion a doctor dismissed Ms Quigley’s complaints, did not listen to Ms Quigley, and questioned her assertion she was 37 weeks pregnant.

The doctor had insisted Ms Quigley was just 34 weeks pregnant, and did not arrange for a scan.

In a defence, the hospital had denied the couple’s claims.


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