Team to review care of newborns at hospital unveiled

The make-up of a review team to examine at least 12 cases of questionable care of newborns at Portiuncula Hospital which left some babies dead and others brain damaged has been announced.

Team to review care of newborns at hospital unveiled

Chaired by James Walker, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at University of Leeds, the team also includes Rachel Conaty, assistant director of midwifery and nursing at Holles St; former head of perinatel medicine at the Coombe Hospital, Sean Daly; Eugene Dempsey, consultant neonatologist at Cork University Maternity Hospital; Adrienne Foran, consultant neonatologist, Rotunda Hospital; Paul Hughes, obstetrician and gynaecologist, Kerry; Breda Shiel Kerans, service user representative, Maternity Services Steering Group; Elaine Madden, head of midwifery and gynaecology at the South Eastern Trust (Belfast); and Cora McCaughan, HSE head of national incident management and learning team.

As well as reviewing at least 12 “adverse perinatal events” at the hospital between 2008 and last November, the team will also carry out a full review of maternity care.

A preliminary review of the care delivered to seven babies who experienced negative perinatal outcomes at the hospital found there were two infant mortalities and a further five babies had evidence of oxygen deprivation during delivery.

Yesterday, the Saolta University Health Care Group, which runs the Co Galway hospital, said the total number of cases to be reviewed had “yet to be finalised as engagement is ongoing with the women/ families of those who have expressed concerns about their care”.

Saolta said all cases will be either included in this investigation or addressed through other processes.

The review team will be supported by trained investigators drawn from staff in other HSE hospital groups. The review, due to commence shortly, is expected to take five months. Saolta said regular re-audits at the maternity unit at Portiuncula Hospital “have confirmed that there is no continuing patient safety concern arising from the issues identified” and “no negative perinatal outcomes” since enhanced monitoring measures were put in place.

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