Dead infant left in box beside grieving mother’s hospital bed

Portlaoise Hospital
Portlaoise Hospital

Staff an Irish hospital left a woman’s dead baby in a box on her bedside locker.

A 24-year-old mother of one told The Mirror that she received “inhuman” treatment after she lost her son when she was five-and-a-half months pregnant, in May 2012.

“It was every woman’s worst nightmare,” she said as she gave her account of what happened in scandal-hit Portlaoise Hospital.

The Mirror reports that the woman was sent home for four days after being told her baby was dead.

The, upon returning to the hospital, she was  left for several hours sobbing in a room waiting for labour to be induced.

The woman was then forced to deliver her dead son in the admissions room because the labour ward was full.

Directly after she gave birth she was wheeled by nurses down to a mixed surgical ward where her baby, in a makeshift coffin, was left on top of her bedside locker.

She was then informed by medics that her baby had abnormalities and it was better that she miscarried.

The woman told The Mirror:

“I was put in a wheelchair and my baby was put in a white box and I was wheeled down to the surgical ward as if I wasn’t important anymore because I didn’t have a baby to look after.

“I was put in a bed beside old men and women who were coughing and spluttering all night and my baby was placed in his white box and left on the bedside locker.

“I couldn’t believe what was happening so a short while later I just discharged myself and went home as I couldn’t bear to look at that little box any longer.”

“I complained to the HSE as what they did was so horrific.

“But all I got was a sorry apology and they said they did their best in the busy overcrowded circumstances.

“I was told as I left hospital that morning it was for the best as my baby had abnormalities and I could start a fresh seed.

“But I never even had a scan. I was waiting from eight weeks for an appointment and even with a letter being sent to say my blood pressure was high there was still nothing.

The woman, who had a baby last year said she doesn’t hold a grudge against the hospital, but added that she needed “some compassion and sensitivity” that day.

A HSE spokeswoman said: “Where a patient has concerns about their treatment at Portlaoise Hospital, the HSE would encourage them to contact the hospital.”

HIQA officials will appear before an Oireachtas committee today to discuss the report.