Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Ann O'Loughlin

A hospital has apologised to a young couple for the “deficits in care” after their baby died four days after his birth.

In a letter read to the High Court, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Co Louth said it would like to sincerely apologise “for the deficits in care that were highlighted” in the review after the death of baby Danny Ryan five years ago.

The letter from the hospital general manager, Fiona Brady, was read out as Danny’s parents Brenda and Michael Ryan settled an action over the care provided at the time of Danny’s birth.

The terms of the settlement are confidential.

The letter of apology also extended sympathies on behalf of the hospital maternity services and hospital management to the Ryans from Allenstown, Kells, Co Meath on the death of their baby son in October 2017.

“I acknowledge the traumatic events which you, the parents and family experienced. We recognise that this loss has had a profound and devastating effect on you and your family. Once again, please accept our deepest sympathies to you on your very sad loss,” it said.

The Ryans had sued the HSE over the care received at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, Co Louth.

Their counsel, Maura McNally SC instructed by Roger Murray solicitor, told the court the Ryans acknowledged the apology but they wanted the hospital and the HSE in particular to learn from mistakes.

‘Trust your gut’

In a statement outside court, the Ryans said too many people had stood in court before them with the same experience and devastating losses. “If we had any advice for parents it is to trust your gut at all times,” they said.

Ms Ryan said waking up after the caesarean section, she had no memory of being told Danny was a boy.

“It was 12 hours before we were told exactly how unwell Danny was. We were left in a limbo worrying and wondering.”

She added: “I cannot begin to explain how helpless we felt while listening to other newborn babies on the maternity ward while waiting nearly 12 hours to find out exactly how unwell Danny was.”

This delay denied her meeting her new baby until just before he was christened, moments before he was stable enough to transfer to a Dublin hospital.

The Ryans said it took them nearly five years to get justice.

“We don’t ever forget that our baby son Danny is at the centre of today. We are stronger people for having met him, for having held him and we all continue to love Danny as a much wanted first baby of the family,” they said in their statement.

Danny continues to drive us forward every day and we hope that he will help other babies too because he became an organ donor

They added: “Danny continues to drive us forward every day and we hope that he will help other babies too because he became an organ donor when he donated his tiny heart valves.

“Our hearts will remain broken although our smiles remain for you Danny and your beautiful little brothers. Thank you for choosing us Danny Ryan, we will be forever and always in love with you.”

The statement added that so many parents are advocating for better maternity care. “The HSE needs to start with open disclosure. The apology letter made no mention of striving for better maternity care. It made no mention of the coroner’s recommendation from 2020 and it made no mention of policy reform.

“We challenge the HSE again today. We want to see evidence of change. No parent should have to make the decision to turn off their newborn baby’s life support,” the statement said.

Induction

Ms Ryan, who was pregnant with her first baby, was found at 25 weeks to be suffering from gestational diabetes. She attended the hospital on numerous occasions for check-ups.

It was claimed that on September 28th, 2017 Ms Ryan, who was told she was not suitable for induction, was not advised of the possibility of a caesarean section or of the importance of delivery at term in patients with gestational diabetes.

On October 12th, it was advised that Ms Ryan be induced the next day but as there were no places available, it was decided to induce her on the next available date on October 15th.

On that date Ms Ryan was admitted for induction but labour did not progress. The next day she was told induction had failed and a caesarean section would take place on October 17th.

It was claimed Ms Ryan was not offered the possibility of an urgent caesarean section nor advised of any risks associated with delay.

Just before midnight on October 16th, baby Danny was delivered and needed to be resuscitated. He was transferred to a Dublin hospital where he died on October 20th, 2017.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Paul Coffey extended his deepest sympathy to the Ryan family.

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