'devastating'  | 

Tributes pour in for woman who died during home birth as she is named locally

Laura Liston died after giving birth to her first son, Shay, in Croom

Laura Liston tragically passed away while giving birth

David Raleigh

Tributes have poured in for a mother who died after giving birth at her home in Co Limerick, and which has led to a suspension of homebirth services pending a HSE review of the circumstances that led to the tragedy.

The deceased mother, named locally as Laura Liston, in her 30s, from Dunnaman, Croom, Co Limerick, and Tubbercurry, Co Sligo, died after giving birth to her first child, a son, Shay, in Croom, on June 5.

A statement released Friday by the UL Hospitals Group, which did not identify Ms Liston, read: “We can confirm that we have temporarily suspended the home birth service in the Mid-West following a recent maternal death. The staff of UL Hospitals Group and of the home birth service would like to extend profound sympathies to the family involved on their devastating loss.”

“We have commissioned an external review of the home birth service in the Mid-West. A group of external experts, including those with midwifery and obstetrics expertise, is being assembled to conduct the review; looking at patient safety, clinical governance and any other issues arising,” added the statement.

Laura Liston tragically passed away while giving birth

A spokesman fro the hospital group said it had “made contact with the small number of women in the region who were due to have home births in the coming months in relation to continuing their care”.

“We won’t be commenting further on the specifics of this case as a review is to take place,” he added.

The temporary suspension of all homebirths in the mid west means that women registered to have had a homebirth in the region will instead have to attend the University Maternity Hospital Limerick until further notice.

A spokesman for the hospital said there were 4,294 births there last year. There were, according to the Irish Examiner, 650 home-births nationally last year.

It’s understood Ms Liston developed life-threatening health complications after the home birth and was later rushed by ambulance from the maternity hospital to University Hospital Limerick where she was pronounced dead.

Ms Liston’s husband Fergal Mannion made an emotional tribute to his late wife at her funeral mass held in St Mary’s Church, Croom, last Friday, June 10.

Speaking today, Friday, June 17, Fr Richard Davern, who officiated the funeral mass, said: “It was the most tragic case I have ever witnessed in my ministry or ever dealt with, and I just hope to God that the family will find strength.”

“They have great hope with the little boy, indeed he has given them great hope and something to focus on at this awful time. I suppose it is ironic that the weakest one, a little baby, is actually going to be the strongest bind that keeps the family together and keep them motivated, it’s sad beyond words, God love them.”

Fr Davern, who previously married the couple, said Mr Mannion “spoke at the mass and thanked the community and said the kindness and goodness of people has been overwhelming”.

Croom Parish Priest Canon Willie Fitzmaurice said the community was deeply shocked and rallying around the heartbroken families.

“They are heartbroken, it’s something beyond their imagining, they are just heartbroken and in shock. The community has reached out and shown a tremendous solidarity to the family, they were shocked and heartbroken at the loss of a woman of such a young age, she was in her mid thirties,” said Fr Fitzmaurice.

Ms Liston had helped many vulnerable people through her work said Fr Fitzmaurice: “She was a probation officer in the prison, she would have been well known and very popular with all the people she encountered in those areas of rehabilitation and so on.”

Friends and neighbours passed on their sympathies to the Liston and Mannion families in an online book of concordances.

Jillian Halpin, a former class mate of Ms Liston, at Crescent College Comprehensive, Limerick, wrote: “I am shocked and so saddened to hear of Laura's passing. I have such lovely memories with Laura during our time in secondary school. She was gentle, kind and caring to all. My sympathies to both the Liston and Mannion families. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam.”

“There are no words to convey the depth of our sorrow for you on the passing of Laura. May her beautiful memory give you strength and comfort at this time,” wrote Jennifer and Ray Lynch.

“Rest in peace Laura and watch over your baby and heartbroken family. Guide them and wrap your gentle wings around them.RIP,” stated Edel Fitzgerald from Croom.

“I worked with Laura in Tusla. She was an amazing colleague, hard working, always had your back and always such great fun to be around,” wrote Breffni Coffey.

Ms Coffey said she “Dreams” by Limerick band The Cranberries “in my head since the funeral and I will always think of (Laura when I hear this song, a truly beautiful person inside and out”.

Ms Liston who was laid to rest in Relig Mhuire Cemetery, Croom, is survived by her husband Fergal, baby son Shay, parents Fiona and John, and sisters Jenifer, Sarah, and brother John-Robert.

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