Medical misadventure in death of baby boy at Our Lady of Lourdes, Drogheda

A verdict of medical misadventure was returned yesterday into the death of an eight-day-old boy, who suffered oxygen deprivation during his birth at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, Co Louth.
Medical misadventure in death of baby boy at Our Lady of Lourdes, Drogheda

The inquest in Dundalk Coroner’s Court heard that infant Killian Lally Doyle had been in the breech position, but this was not diagnosed until his mother Kim was in an advanced stage of labour.

When it was diagnosed, she had an emergency caesarean section.

A postmortem concluded Killian had died from intrapartum hypoxia or oxygen deprivation which caused multi-organ injury, including brain damage. The oxygen deprivation was due to compression of the umbilical cord, associated with hyper coiling of the umbilical cord, perinatal pathologist, Dr John Gillan, said.

Killian’s mother, Kim, held a cuddly toy to her as she said: “We are satisfied with today’s outcome. We feel fully vindicated and really hope lessons have been learnt .”

She said they were “very thankful for the support of our family for the last two days [of the inquest] and over the last two-and-half years since Killian died”.

She also thanked her legal team and the “support of Patient Focus and, without all of those people, I don’t know if we would have got here today.

“I just wish we had Killian back, but we can’t get him back. We achieved what we wanted to achieve today and are happy for that.”

Earlier in the inquest, obstetrician at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Dr Joseph O’Quigley, acknowledged that, on the balance of probability, it was more likely that the baby was breech when his mother arrived at the hospital and there was little doubt that the umbilical cord was compressed during birth.

He believed the cord was compressed as the baby’s body descended into the birth canal.

The inquest also heard that once the second stage of labour had started, the fetal heart rate should have been monitored every five minutes and emergency monitoring should have been continuous, but this wasn’t done.

Killian was born on May 20, 2013, and an MRI found no evidence of brain injury occurring before labour.

He had no genetic abnormalities and Roger Murray, solicitor for Killian’s family, told the inquest there were “abundant” signs that the incident occurred during labour.

He said it appeared both Dr Gillan and Dr Roger Malcolmson, who was retained by the family, agreed Killian’s death was caused by perinatal asphyxia.

Dr Gillan said he had amended his findings, after being provided with Dr Malcolmson’s opinion. His original finding was of ante-natal asphyxia, but the amended one was that peri-natal asphyxia, around the time of birth, caused Killian to die.

The coroner said: “I cannot see any other verdict than medical misadventure.”

He found that Killian died in the hospital on May 28, 2013, from intrapartum hypoxia due to acute compression of the umbilical cord. He also expressed “heartfelt sympathies” to his family on their loss.

Mr Murray said the family hopes “meaningful lessons will be learnt” and said the family reaction is one of “complete vindication”.

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