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25th Apr 2017

Couple who lost two babies receive ‘unreserved’ apology from Portiuncula Hospital

A couple who lost two baby girls in two years at Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe have received an apology for ‘failures of care’ that likely contributed to their deaths.

Lorraine and Warren Reilly from Loughrea, Co Galway had their daughters Asha and Amber at Portiuncula Maternity Unit in 2008 and 2010.

Asha was stillborn after the medical professionals on duty failed to spot symptoms of placental abruption and deliver the baby early.

The couple later discovered that Amber, who was transferred to Holles Street for treatment after her birth but passed away one week later, could potentially have been saved if staff had responded to abnormal CTG tracings.

The failing were uncovered in 2015 when the Reillys discovered the hospital had already undertaken a review of Amber’s death in 2011 without informing them.

According to a report in the Irish Independent, a Freedom of Information Act application revealed a number of internal emails suggesting that staff attempted to keep the information from the devastated parents.

The couple are among 18 families who are accusing Portiuncula Hospital of an ‘attempted cover-up of the failings in care at the maternity unit by some hospital staff”.

In a statement the HSE Saolta Health Care Group confirmed it had written to Lorraine and Warren Reilly “… to apologise unreservedly and fully for the failures of care delivered to Lorraine that contributed to the likely preventable deaths of Asha and Amber.”

The group also said the family “…should have been previously informed…” about the 2011 review and “… given the opportunity to be involved.”

The family feel the hospital has failed to act on the recommendations made in the report.

Speaking to RTÉ Investigates, Ms Reilly said: “For us we feel that they definitely didn’t act on those recommendations, well definitely after hearing what was after happening in 2014 to the other families and that’s absolutely heartbreaking to think that so many other families have suffered when they could have enforced these recommendations and they obviously did not.”