Mulcair inquest: Culture change

YESTERDAY was another long, harrowing day for Joan and John Mulcair, from Corbally, Limerick, who attended the inquest into the death after her birth of their daughter Caoimhe. A verdict of medical misadventure was reached.

It followed a courtroom apology from the HSE for the failings in the care provided to baby Caoimhe when she was born in February 2009, and for the stress and pain caused to her family. The apology from Collette Cowan, chief executive of the local hospital group, was sent to the Mulcair family just two days ago, more than six years after Caoimhe’s death. This is not the first death of this kind in an Irish hospital and it will not be the last because humans are involved and humans can make mistakes. Doing so is part and parcel of our existence.

Many years ago the then health minister Mary Harney, in response to a similar blunder, said “I don’t do heads on plates”. Is it possible that that attitude needs to change and a new more assertive culture, one that demands certain standards or imposes meaningful consequences, be reinstated in our health service?


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