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19th Nov 2021

Husband of mother and father of baby who died in Cork hospital speaks out against the system

Ellen Fitzpatrick

A tragic event.

The husband of a mother and father of a baby who tragically died in a Cork hospital has spoken out after the case’s verdict.

Marie Downey died from sustained injuries after she had an epileptic seizure at Cork University Maternity Hospital on 25 March, 2019.

The inquest into the deaths revealed verdicts of medical misadventure returned by the jury in both cases, two and a half years after the passings.

While admitting he is relieved, husband Kieran Downey spoke out about his heartbreak of not only losing his wife but also their newborn child.

Marie and Kieran’s four day old son Darragh was found underneath his mother on the floor, where she was discovered following the fit. He died of multiple organ failure, caused by compression asphyxia.

“We are grateful to the jury for their verdicts and recommendations which will, we hope, spare this kind of profound, shocking tragedy from touching the lives of any other family ever again,” Kiearan said.

“Marie and I sought what we thought was the best possible care for her, and paid to go private. We were let down and we feel failed by the system.”

When it came to the verdict of medical misadventure, Coroner Philip Comyn said that both deaths were consistent with “certain system failures”, according to RTÉ.

Speaking after the inquest, Kieran said that the day his son was born was the happiest of his life and that Darragh and Marie meant everything to him.

He said: “Marie (was) very loving and caring, an unbelievable mother to James, Sean and Darragh; loved her parents Jim and Helen. And Darragh, he was a big boy – just a beautiful baby.”

While he admitted the recommendations made by the jury were “very good” and “should be implemented”, he still does not have faith in the system.

Hoping it never happens to another family again, Kieran noted that it takes a “long, long time” for things like this to be implemented.