Wednesday, May 10, 2023

High Court Reporters

The Coombe Hospital has offered “heartfelt and unreserved apologies for failings in care” to the parents of a baby girl who died a day after her birth.

Baby Ruby Holland died at the Dublin hospital almost seven years ago.

A letter of apology from the Master of The Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital was read out at the High Court as Ruby’s parents, Ciara and Glenn Holland from Tallaght, Dublin settled a nervous shock action over her death.

Their counsel Patrick Treacy SC instructed by Cian O’Carroll solicitor told the court that it was extremely important for the Hollands to get to the root of the tragedy. A review of the case by the hospital he said acknowledged their pain and suffering but not any deficiencies in their daughter’s care and this had significantly exacerbated the couple’s trauma and suffering.

He said he could not overstate the importance to the Hollands that the tragic loss of Ruby is acknowledged, and the hospital had recently also admitted causation as well as liability in the case.

In the letter Professor Michael O’Connell offered on behalf of the hospital heartfelt and unreserved apologies for failings in care on the day of Ruby’s birth on July 21 2016.

The letter said: “In particular I sincerely regret that the maternal blood pressure was not adequately monitored between 4:15 AM and 4:46 AM that day.”

Referring to the Hospital’s Adverse Incident Review of the events surrounding Ruby’s birth, Professor O’Connell  said it was not their intention to add to the Hollands distress in any way.

“ I was very sorry to learn that you were unhappy with the process and I sincerely regret that this is the case. I would like to reiterate my apologies for the distress suffered in respect of the tragic outcome and offer my deepest condolences to you and your family,” the letter concluded.

Ciara and Glenn Holland of Aylesbury Tallaght, Dublin had sued The Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital for nervous shock. It was claimed there was alleged negligence and breach of duty in the treatment of care afforded to Mrs. Holland and her daughter in the course of her delivery and in her neonatal care in the initial minutes of her life and that Ruby was caused to suffer severe and profound injuries which led to her death the following day on July 22, 2016.

It was further claimed there was a failure to appreciate the deterioration in the baby’s condition prior to her delivery which it was claimed was attributable to a combination of maternal hypotension and a small placental abruption.

Following birth, it was claimed there was a delay in intubation and a failure to provide effective ventilation to the baby during at least three of the first four minutes of her life.

There was it was alleged a failure to appreciate that the mother’s blood pressure had fallen markedly in the aftermath of the administration of the epidural top up.

There was it was claimed a failure to proceed with the expeditious delivery of the baby at a time that would have averted the onset or severity of her hypoxia related injuries.

Ruby was delivered at 5.17 AM by forceps delivery, and she was later transferred to the neonatal unit where active cooling treatment took place.

Senior council Patrick Treacy told the court that case had been settled, and it was before the court for the division of the statutory mental distress payment.

He said an expert on their side would say that the quality of foetal and maternal monitoring was substandard.

Approving the division of the solatium Mr Justice Paul Coffey there were very tragic facts and circumstances to the case, and he offered his deepest sympathy to the Holland family.

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