“I lost a son — he died completely unnecessarily.”
These are the words mother Fiona Ní Chonchubhair used in the High Court yesterday as she told how she felt a constant rage at the injustice of her newborn son’s death in May 2009.
Had an ambulance sent from Kerry General Hospital on a 114km trip to Cork University Hospital been equipped with the blood and staff to administer it, her second child, Aodh, would have survived and she herself would not have suffered the shock, trauma and anger that followed, Mr Justice Sean Ryan was told.
When the ambulance arrived at CUH with the 36-year-old mother, who was nearly 32 weeks pregnant and bleeding internally, it took another 15 to 20 minutes for the crew to locate the accident and emergency unit.
Ms Ní Chonchubhair, of Countess Rd, Killarney, Co Kerry, was operated on and received six units of blood to replace what she had lost, but it was too late for Aodh, who was delivered stillborn by emergency caesarean section on May 16, 2009.
“My father, who is in his 70s, told me it is the hardest cross you will have to bear, and he is right.”
That is how the mother — who has since had two other children and is pregnant again — described her burden of pain as the High Court begins to assess the damages due to her in her action against the HSE.
“I think of baby Aodh constantly. We were in the wrong place at the wrong time. We were treated in such a careless manner,” she said.
The grieving mother later learned, she told Mr Justice Ryan, that the baby “would be here today if he was delivered before midnight”.
Her grief has a never-ending sense to it, she said, and while she loves being around her children, they are, she said, the only distraction.
Asked how she felt in the months after her baby’s death, she said it was not the life she and her husband had planned.
“It feels like somebody else had taken over the route of your life. I felt a constant rage at the injustice,” she said.
Ms Ní Chonchubhair told the court that she became so anxious to avoid a repetition of what happened, that in her two last pregnancies, for the last three months of each, she rented a house in Cork to make sure she would be near CUH and not have to go to Kerry General.
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