Parents of baby Aaron Cullen reject report into his tragic death

The parents of a baby boy who died five days after his birth at Midland Regional Hospital have said they do not accept a report published by the HSE into the case, in which the Executive admits errors were made and offers an apology.
Parents of baby Aaron Cullen reject report into his tragic death

Claire and Keith Cullen from Co Laois leaving the inquest of their baby Aaron Cullen. Pic Collins Courts

The parents of a baby boy who died five days after his birth at Midland Regional Hospital have said they do not accept a report published by the HSE into the case, in which the Executive admits errors were made and offers an apology.

The report is about Aaron Ben Cullen, who died on May 9, 2016 at Dublin’s Coombe Hospital, having been born five days previously at the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise.

His parents, Claire and Keith Cullen, had sued the HSE for mental distress as a result of the death of their newborn baby and the case was settled at the High Court last September.

This week in a report, confirmed by the Cullens as referring to their child, the Executive said investigators had identified three key causal factors:

"Failure by staff in hospital S1 to effectively communicate on several occasions with each other, Mrs X, her husband and hospital S2;

"Failure by staff to anticipate the potential severity of Baby Aaron’s condition at delivery;

"Failure by staff to complete and document all the required steps in the sustained neonatal resuscitation in this case within a desirable time-frame, including failure to assign a scribe to provide a full and accurate recording of the resuscitation efforts provided."

According to the report: "In respect of the Incidental Findings the Investigation Team identified that elements of care provided fell well below an acceptable level. These incidental findings if not addressed have the potential to cause serious harm to patients."

It makes a number of recommendations. An apology attributed to an unnamed General Manager said: "I accept the investigator's findings and we apologise sincerely for this and for your overall experience in our services."

However, in a statement to the Irish Examiner the Cullen family said: "Yesterday the 25th of November 2020 the HSE published a Systems Analysis Review commissioned in August 2016, finalised in August 2019.

"However upon a new discovery of information a further review was needed and the report was then finalised in May 2020.

"We wish to highlight our non-acceptance of the final report published on the HSE website yesterday.

"We have rejected this report on a number of occasions throughout the past four years and expressed our disappointment towards an incomplete report being finalised.

"We feel this review is not a representative of a full factual and accurate account of events or a representation of a fair and just investigation with key information withheld.

"Although there are numerous serious breaches in care acknowledged through this review and its findings, those recommendations will make a difference nationally.

"It is our opinion that there has been a vast amount of serious breaches within investigation proceedings. These serious breaches of non-conformity of investigative procedures are very concerning for us."

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