Staffing and resources led to Portiuncula failures, report author says

One of the authors of a report into the care of 18 babies and their mothers at Portiuncula Hospital has said a combination of resource and staffing inadequacies led to a number of failures, including the serious harm and death of babies.

Professor James Walker discussed some of the findings of the Clinical Review of Maternity Services at the hosptial in Ballinasloe, Co Galway between 2008 and 2014 on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

Prof Walker said a lack of staff at midwifery level and consultant level was key to many of the problems.

He said that "as soon as things go well you can cope ... but when things go wrong"there were not enough people around to assist.

He said that big reviews were not the way to solve these problems, they should be solved at a local level.

Prof Walker said that the report followed concerns raised by a number of families.

However, he said that in many ways if there had been due diligence or open disclosure at the time of the incidents involved then this report would not have happened.

He said the report "really is a reflection of the problem of not talking to people, not investigating and not accepting that errors have been made and they can improve."

He criticised the lack of an open disclosure approach to care in some cases - including a situation where a C-Section was carried out after the baby had died.

He said this was done without consultation with the mother and when a senior doctor was not available.

Prof Walker said training and background training for younger doctors was inadequate.

He said that individuals did not upskill or train to keep skills up and the infrastructure was not there to investigate things that go wrong and to learn from them.

He said the lack of a liaison or bereavement midwife to talk to families whose babies had been transferred to other hospitals also led to a breakdown in communication.

He said without the opportunity to train doctors in hospital teams - and teach staff how to escalate problems and talk to people - the hospital instead had a system that when under stress tends to break down.

Prof Walker said that no one thing or one person was to blame for the failures but rather it was a system failure that they did not have the right people in place.

Prof Walker said changes have been made and Portiuncula Hospital now has a senior midwife in the labour ward at all times.

He said there is also now have a consultant in obstetrics full time to assist and to teach each day.

A solicitor specialising in medical negligence who represents a family of one of the babies left with injuries and disability after being delivered in the Portiuncula said the findings of a clinical review were bittersweet for his client.

Michael Boylan said the clinical review left the baby's mother feeling vindicated and justified in her complaint, but also having received such unsatisfactory experience.

He said the hospital would not deal with her or investigate her complaint and it was only when the mother phoned the hospital helpline in response to this inquiry that she got any honest answers.

Mr Boylan said that his client's child suffered disability as a result of clinical failings at the hospital including a failure to recognise foetal distress, incorrect reading of ECG's and a failure to intervene by Caesaerean section earlier.

Mr Boylan told Morning Ireland that the family's experience in relation to open disclosure was not satisfactory.

rte.ie
IRELAND REGIONAL CONNACHT HEALTH PORTIUNCULA HOSPITAL JAMES WALKER
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Society
Housing and homeless agency Novas, which works with vulnerable individuals and families in Limerick and the mid-west, has said it helped over 4,500 people last year. In its annual report released today, it warns of the worrying trend that those becoming homeless are getting younger. Novas works with homeless people, and those at risk of becoming homeless, in Limerick, Kerry and Tipperary. The escalation of the homelessness crisis, coupled with more people...
Society
Irish baby name trends have taken a such a drastic turn in the past century some are becoming extinct, research has revealed. While some new entries gained traction in recent years, there are still timeless favourites that soar high on the popularity scale. The Ancestry.ie survey identified Adam and Harry as the favourite names among boys, seeing a 1,396% and 979% percentage increase since 1917 respectively. They are followed by Luke, Aidan and Mark to for...
Incidents
One person was hospitalised after a crash between a horse and carriage and a car overnight. Two fire engines and an ambulance were called after the crash at 2:30am on the junction of Eccles Street and Dorset Street. The man at the helm of the cart was brought to hospital although his injuries were not believed to be serious. The horse bolted for about 100 metres after being startled by the crash but was uninjured. The carriage however received heavy damage...
Society
A grieving Dublin woman said she is still in shock that her elderly mother died from spilling a cup of tea. Daphne Anderson (91) - originally from Glasnevin - died from sepsis, which she contracted in hospital while being treated for scalding injuries. Daphne's daughter Audrey told The Herald that her mother had been fit and active prior to the injury. She said: "My mother was fit and in good health. I can't believe that spilling a cup of tea could have ki...
Society
Passengers were left frustrated at the weekend as Aer Lingus was forced to cancel two flights at late notice. People hoping to fly to JFK Airport in New York on Saturday afternoon were angered when the flight was cancelled. Aer Lingus flight EI109 was due to leave Dublin for JFK at 4:10pm but was cancelled just hours before. Many holiday-makers were sat in the airport at the time waiting for information when the news broke the flight would not be in operat...
Incidents
Vandals who set fire to two taxis over the past four days in Crumlin have been condemned as "scumbags". One cab was burnt out on Friday night, followed by another this morning. The Dublin Taxi Drivers Facebook page shared images of the destroyed vehicles this afternoon and urged people in the area to be aware of any suspicious behaviour. In the post, the group wrote: "Two taxis burnt down in Crumlin, Friday night and one this morning on Sundrive road! "Be...
Society
A society in a Dublin college has been suspended from all social activity for a semester after videos emerged of members getting naked and partaking in "frat style games". DCU's Accounting and Finance Society hosted an election for their first year reps in which students were allegedly performing "nude acts" as well as being told to complete "challenges". In a statement tonight, the society said they will "ensure this does not happen again" and apologised...
Society
Despite the potential operation, Terry claimed that she is not expected to be given accommodation for at least another six months. A former soldier who is homeless and has been living in her car in Dublin has revealed she will be bed-bound for five weeks after an upcoming operation Terry O’Reilly said last week that she has been living in her car in Shankill for more than a year. The 34-year-old has now revealed that she is facing an operation to address n...
Incidents
A teen who threatened to "shoot up" his Balbriggan school is unlikely to face charges, it has been revealed. He was arrested yesterday after making the threatening message and posting a picture of a gun. The 16-year-old is suspected of having a grudge and was arrested and questioned before he was released at midday yesterday. The boy uploaded a twisted message online, insisting: “Don’t come in tomorrow if you have any regard for your life, you’ve been warn...