The mother of one of the babies who died at the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise is glad the dead children will never be forgotten because of the role they played in helping to improve services.
Shauna Keyes’ son, Joshua, died nearly an hour after being delivered by emergency C-section at the hospital in 2009.
Shauna said the report by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) on the child deaths in Portlaoise marked the end of her family’s five-and-a-half year battle on behalf of her son.
“Joshua isn’t here to make his own impact on the world but now he has through this investigation. This report is going to make a real difference across the country, not just in Portlaoise.”
She said it was very upsetting to learn that the State Claims Agency had raised concerns about the hospital with the HSE in 2007 — two years before she gave birth to her son.
“My family have spent so long looking for clear answers. Now we have them.
“The report will not change what happened to my family but it is very clear to us now that the blame lay higher up in the HSE.”
Shauna said she found that many of the issues highlighted by the report had already been addressed by the hospital.
“I went back to Portlaoise last December to have my daughter and saw, at first hand, the massive changes that have been introduced over the past year.
“They treated me very well the second time round,” said Shauna, who feared she would never get pregnant again.
“Even when I was pregnant with Maisie I believed there would be something wrong with her when she was born. I was so shocked when she cried.”
Shauna said that Patient Focus should be given the resources to become an independent patient advocacy service — one of the report’s recommendations.
“They are working with a shoe-string budget and stretching themselves to deal with everybody who looks for their help.
“There is no need to set up a brand new advocacy service. They should use what they have and improve it.”
Meanwhile, Roisín and Mark Molloy, whose son Mark died at Portlaoise three years ago, said they had wanted to find out what happened to their child and ensure it would not happen to someone else’s child.
The Molloy family have four children, all of whom were born in the hospital, but found that when additional help was needed for baby Mark, things appeared to go wrong.
Roisín said they were horrified by the gaps in the service that they found when they tried to find out why their son died.
She had always maintained that the HSE knew there were issues at the hospital and was responsible for further deaths for failing to act.
Mark said the matter had taken over their lives for more than three years and their family had suffered as a result - they had less time to spend with their other boys.
The Molloys said they had lost their baby because he did not get the care he needed – he died just minutes after being born.
There had been warning signs that he was in trouble but they were ignored.
“We are not going to let the report sit on a shelf and gather dust as seems to be the case with other reports. We are going to make sure that this is driven home now,” said Mark when interviewed on RTÉ television last night.
Hiqa said the investigation was initiated as a result of the negative experiences of a number of patients and their families. It found the care they received fell well below the standard expected in a modern acute hospital.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved