'incredibly upsetting' | 

Parents of baby who died in Coombe Hospital can’t believe ‘how callous’ staff were

Parents Cóilín Ó Scolaí and Irene Kavanagh were speaking after they settled a High Court action over the death of baby Laoise at the Coombe Hospital.

Cóilín Ó’Scolaí and Irene Kavanagh

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

The parents of a premature baby who died after a needle accidently pierced her heart, have said they could not believe “how callous” hospital staff had been in the aftermath of her death.

Parents Cóilín Ó Scolaí and Irene Kavanagh were speaking after they settled a High Court action over the death of baby Laoise at the Coombe Hospital.

Laoise Kavanagh Ni Scolaí and her twin brother, Cuan, were born on January 22, 2015 at 28 weeks and six days.

Cóilín and Irene had been were initially told both the twins were doing “very well” but that Laoise was the stronger of the two.

However, doctors decided the twins needed a procedure to alleviate air on their lungs when they were two days old, and Cuan was wheeled into surgery first.

Baby Laoise Ní Scolaí

“Cuan had had the same procedure done that morning, so they didn’t make a big deal of it,” Cóilín Ó Scolaí told Newstalk’s The Hard Shoulder.

“[They said] they would call us back in about 40 minutes’ time.”

Cóilín and Irene went back to their hospital room and it was there they received a phone call asking them to come back down.

“When we got down there, we were told that while they were doing the procedure, they may have nicked something and they were rushing her to Crumlin Hospital to see what could be done,” Cóilín said.

Cóilín and Irene followed the ambulance in the car and shortly after they arrived a doctor came to speak with them.

“Irene looked at her and said, ‘Don’t say it’ and she just shook her head and we knew that Laoise was dead.

“That she didn’t make it.”

Baby Laoise Ní Scolaí

The couple described the inquest into Laoise’s death as “an incredibly upsetting ordeal”.

“We thought it was going to be a very open thing where it’s about uncovering the truth and telling us what happened - damned be the consequences,” Cóilín said.

“What we learnt is that it was more like a first line of defence where they put forward their narrative; they changed the story from her being the stronger of the two to being the weaker of the two and then the needle, while it had pierced her heart, [they] said it had, ‘Gone in too far’, they changed that to, ‘It needed to go in too far to do the job.’

“Then they changed it to the latest narrative - which was appalling - was that, ‘Her heart swung into the needle.’

“Which is kind of like the defence you would use when somebody runs into your fist as opposed to you punching them.

“We couldn’t believe the gall and how callous they were.”

It is eight years since Laoise’s death and the couple have spent that time determined that the truth of their daughter’s death be recorded.

“It’s bad enough that they killed her but to rewrite her life history to [her] being the weaker child of the two when she was the stronger of the two until she needed that procedure - that ultimately killed her because they pushed the needle in too far - to change that to suit the narrative was unforgivable.”

The Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital has admitted liability in the death of Laoise Kavanagh Ni Scolaí.

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