The only male midwife working at Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH), one of a handful nationally, has died suddenly.
Patrick White, who was in his mid-40s, was a well-known face on the labour ward at CUMH and further afield, having featured in From Here to Maternity, a fly-on-the-wall documentary on RTÉ in recent years.
Patrick, from Skibbereen, Co Cork, previously said he was attracted to the practice of midwifery while studying nursing at Cambridge. He said every day was rewarding and it allowed him to share in some of the happiest moments in people’s lives. He said he never encountered prejudice on the job.
Yesterday, Rosaline O’Donovan, assistant director of midwifery at CUMH, said Patrick had worked at the hospital since it opened in 2007, as a manager of the birthing suite (labour ward) for the past number of years, and that his colleagues were devastated by his sudden passing.
“We knew he had been ill, but this was unexpected. We were all very fond of him, he was a great colleague,” Ms O’Donovan said.
She said staff at CUMH received the bad news on Monday and upwards of 100 colleagues had gathered in the prayer room close to the delivery suite, where Patrick spent much of his working life. He had previously worked at St Finbarr’s Hospital in Cork and in the emergency department of Tallaght Hospital, Dublin.
He was a young man and he was well-known and well-liked. We were all very sad when we got the news on Monday
She said Patrick’s colleagues would remember him as being extremely sociable “and someone who was great fun” and excellent at his job.
The hospital has opened a book of condolences which it will pass on to his family.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation said it had counselling and other supports available to staff at CUMH if needed. General secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said it was “a very sad time for Patrick’s colleagues and his family”.
Patrick, who had cancer, is survived by his father John and 10 siblings. He is predeceased by his mother, Patricia and brother, Diarmuid.
Funeral Mass takes place today at noon in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Skibbereen.