Inquest hears labour ward staff did not know baby, who was stillborn, was in distress

Staff on a labour ward have no way of predicting a clot in the umbilical cord, a resumed inquest into the death of a baby has heard.

Responding to questioning concerning the death of Baby Molly Farren Wrafter, Consultant Gynaecologist and Obstetrician, Professor Fergal Malone said delivery staff did not know the baby was in distress during labour.

Baby Molly was stillborn on October 16 2008. The cause of death was given as a clot in the umbilical cord, according to Consultant Pathologist Dr Deirdre Devaney.

There was no definitive cause for the clot, the pathologist said.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane returned a narrative verdict setting out the circumstances of the baby’s death.

Parents Jane Farren and Feidhlimidh Wrafter from Spire View Lane in Rathgar, Dublin 6 are awaiting a systems analysis review of the case which is underway.

“We want to make sure standards are improved for the future,” Mr Wrafter said.

In a case settled without admission of liability, the couple received a €150,000 settlement payment following a negligence claim against the Rotunda Hospital in 2013. Their legal expenses were paid by the State Claims Agency.

A resumed inquest into the baby’s death at Dublin Coroner’s Court heard that sharp drops and accelerations of the foetal heart beat were not necessarily indicative of cord occlusion or thrombis.

Prof Malone said a cord accident or a thrombosis of the artery cannot be detected by CTG (cardiotocography) monitoring during labour.

“We were as surprised as anyone to find it was a thrombus. It has stayed with me, how unpredictable and shocking it was for everyone,” Prof Malone said. Asked if he would manage the delivery in the same way today, Prof Malone replied that he would.

“Walking prospectively through the case the answer is yes, I would,” Prof Malone said.

The couple claim that accelerations and decelerations of the foetal heartbeat should have lead to earlier intervention and a reduction in the administration of syntocinon, the drug used to speed up labour.

Baby Molly was delivered by emergency C- section 4.17am but she was stillborn.

Speaking after the inquest, the parents said a clinical review of the case by the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group found the CTG was abnormal from 2am and evidence of hyper-stimulation.

The report recommended an apology for adverse outcomes and an admission of departure from good standards of care which the family say they have not received.


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