Murphy lashes litany of failures at Portiuncula Hospital

Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon/Galway, Deputy Eugene Murphy, has hit out at the shocking litany of failures and errors outlined in the long-awaited report of an independent review of maternity services at Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe.

Deputy Murphy was speaking in the Dáil this week during statements on the external independent clinical review of maternity services at Portiuncula Hospital.

“Of the 18 maternity cases which were reviewed, six babies died and, in ten cases, there were there serious errors of management that would probably have made a difference to the outcome for babies.

“I think it is important from the outset that we remember the babies who died and their families and acknowledge the horrific heartbreak and trauma which the families have endured and no doubt are still suffering as they come to terms with such huge loss,” he said.

The report highlights a number of key issues relating to the service provided in PUH between 2008 and 2014. These include delays in escalation of concerns to more senior decision makers, deficits in staff numbers across both medical and nursing, poor CTG (trace ) interpretation, and concerns relating to the administration of oxytocin during labour.

The review report raised concerns around the way many families were communicated with during or after their time in hospital. The report also highlighted historical issues relating the governance structures in place between the hospital and the group at that time.

“The report made a total of 154 recommendations under five headings, including environment, training, clinical care, staffing and improvement in the communications between both midwives and medical staff and with families during labour and after an event’, said Deputy Murphy.

Adding that it was critical the findings and recommendations of the review be acted on and that there is no repeat of such shocking and devastating cases, Deputy Murphy said that these families have suffered the greatest of all losses, the loss of a child.

“To think that in some cases serious errors of management would probably have made a difference to the outcome for some babies compounds the tragedy.

While nothing can and will ever compensate for the loss of a child, the State has an obligation to these families to ensure that all of the key recommendations are implemented in relation to maternity services at Portiuncula Hospital to ensure that no other mother or father has to suffer the same heartbreak’, concluded Deputy Murphy.

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