independent

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Hospital criticised at inquest

INQUEST RECOMMENDS CHANGE IN PROCEDURES

PROCEDURES at Wexford General Hospital were criticised last week at an inquest into the death of a newborn baby.

Pathologist Dr. Michael McDermott told the inquest that the absence of a placenta for his examination seriously hampered his investigations. This led the jury to recommend that a 'more robust' system be put in place in future, to preserve placentas 'for a reasonable time', in case they might be needed. THE JURY in an inquest into the death of a Gorey baby at Wexford General Hospital in 2009, has recommended that 'a robust system' be put in place at the hospital for preserving placentas for a reasonable time after delivery.

The recommendation came after inquest recorded an open verdict into the death of Keeley Byrne of 38 Woodlands Drive, Gorey, on March 10, 2009. She passed away a few short hours after she was born.

The pathologist Dr. Michael McDermott told the inquest that he had found no anatomical abnormality. He determined that the cause of death was 'perinatal asphyxia of undetermined cause'. This meant the baby had suffered a lack of oxygen sometime before, during or after birth.

Hover, he said that the absence of a placenta for the pathological exam had significantly hampered the investigation. An apparent delay in intubating the infant was also noted.

Keeley was daughter of Aisling Byrne and Stephen Kavanagh. The baby's mother was not at the inquest as she is seriously ill.

Evidence was heard from several employees of Wexford General, as well as the pathologist Dr. McDermott, who performed a post mortem at the Children's Hospital in Crumlin.

However, evidence was not heard from Dr. Kumar who treated the baby at the Special Care Unit, as he has returned to Pakistan.

Another staff member told the inquest that an oxygen mask had been applied to the baby's mouth when she became blue shortly after she was born at around 4.40 a.m. She was then transferred to the special care unit.

A barrister for the family questioned those who gave evidence in great detail.

Recording an open verdict, the jury made a strong recommendation that a robust system be in place at the hospital to preserve placentas for a reasonable time after delivery. It was noted that the absence of the placenta for a pathological examination had hampered the investigation, and an apparent delay in intubating the infant was also noted.

The HSE this week said it would not be appropriate to comment on the case.

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