'An awful tragedy': Community mourns mother and newborn son who died at Cork hospital

The newborn baby that was injured at Cork University Maternity Hospital this week has died.

'An awful tragedy': Community mourns mother and newborn son who died at Cork hospital

Update 12.55pm: Prayers have been offered at masses in Kildorrery, Co Cork for Marie Downey and her baby son Darragh who died in tragic circumstances at Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH).

The mother of three, who worked at Novartis Pharmaceutical Company, was found dead on the floor of her single room at CUMH on Monday morning.

Her newborn son Darragh was found underneath his mother. He passed away at the hospital on Tuesday evening despite the best efforts of staff to save him.

It is believed that Marie suffered some sort of medical incident on Monday morning whilst breastfeeding Darragh. She fell from the bed and the baby went underneath her.

Fr Eamonn Kelleher, parish priest of Kildorrery, said that it was "an awful tragedy" for the parish and in particular for the people of Knockanevin where Ms Downey lived with her husband and family.

"They are a very close community and take great care of each other...Everyone feels the Downey tragedy... They are gathering here every morning to pray for the Downeys and to pray for Marie and the little boy Darragh."

They are being surrounded by support, but at the same time the whole community feels helpless.

He said that it was his hope that the Downeys would have the strength to get through this unimaginable tragedy.

"The community here will give them all the support," he said. "(Marie's) husband Kieran is from Knockanevin. Kieran's sister works in the local national school and Kieran and Marie's eldest boy is in that school too. It's a very close-knit community and there is immense respect for the Downeys.

"I know the people there will, with great sensitivity, do everything they can."

Fr Kelleher spoke of the loneliness of grief. He stated that unfortunately, grief is a burden one largely carries alone.

"But they are in the prayers of all here and I know that there is very practical support too from the local community out in Knockanevin," he said.

"The thing about grief is that there is so little you can do really. We are alone with it...There is terrible sadness that that cross is on the shoulders of Kieran and the Downey family.

"People have a true Christian spirit and there is deep human affection. And that would be constant even when time goes by."

Novartis Pharmaceutical in Ringaskiddy, Co Cork have issued a statement in relation to the death of their employee Marie, saying: "Marie Downey was a valued member of our team here at Novartis Ringaskiddy. Our thoughts and prayers are with Marie's family and friends during this very difficult time. Marie will be fondly remembered here at Novartis Ringaskiddy."

Meanwhile, an investigation has been launched into the death of mother and child.

In a statement, South/South West Hospital Group offered their deepest condolences at their tragic loss.

They said that "a full medical investigation was immediately initiated".

Marie had been checked on by medical staff at 7am and she was doing well. However, when doctors returned an hour later they found mother and baby on the floor. They attempted to revive her but she was pronounced dead.

Baby Darragh was in a critical condition and subsequently died on Tuesday evening.

The death is being treated as a "tragic occurrence".

Funeral arrangements will be made in the coming days and it is expected the pair will be laid to rest in their native parish.

Marie Downey suffered from epilepsy. One of the lines of inquiry being explored is that she may have suffered a seizure whilst breast-feeding Darragh in her bed at the hospital.

A post mortem was carried out on the late mother of three at CUH on yesterday.

A post mortem will be carried out on baby Darragh tomorrow at the hospital.

The death has caused widespread sadness and shock amongst the nursing and midwifery staff onsite.

Marie is survived by her husband Kieran, her sons James and Sean and her parents Jim and Helen.

Marie was formerly of Ballyagran, Co Limerick and it is understood she studied in Limerick before moving to Knockanevin, Sraharla, Co Cork.

Newborn who was injured at Cork maternity hospital has died

Earlier: The newborn baby that was injured at Cork University Maternity Hospital this week has died.

On Monday, a mother was found dead on the floor of her hospital room with her newborn child underneath her.

The newborn passed away shortly after 7pm last night despite efforts to stabilise his condition.

A spokesperson for the South South West Hospital Group said: “South South West Hospital Group wishes to confirm that a baby boy passed away at Cork University Maternity Hospital last evening.

"The mother of the four day old infant died at the hospital on Monday morning.

"As with all unexplained deaths a full medical investigation was immediately initiated. This investigation is currently underway at CUMH.”

The hospital expressed its sympathies with the family of the mother and baby saying that the priority now for the hospital is the well-being of their family.

An investigation is underway into the incident which is being treated as a tragic incident.

The 36-year-old mother - who has two other children - was discovered unresponsive on the floor of her hospital room on Monday morning.

She was checked on early on Monday morning by staff who found no issues.

However, she was later found lying on the floor with her child underneath her at around 8am.

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