Belfast Telegraph

Doctor mistakenly told pregnant woman her unborn baby was dead

By Wayne O'Connor

A pregnant mother was mistakenly informed her unborn child was dead at the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise - only to find out two days later her baby was in fact alive and healthy.

Aimee Nolan (26) has received an apology from a consultant obstetrician at the Portlaoise hospital as management of the maternity services said it acknowledged the incident had caused distress to the woman and her family.

It follows a verdict of medical misadventure being handed down this week into the death of baby Mary Kate Kelly, whose mother had visited the Midland Regional Hospital with concerns over reduced foetal movement.

Her mother, Amy Delahunt, was discharged - only to discover at Limerick Regional Hospital the next day her baby was dead.

Ms Nolan, originally from Dublin but living in Walsh Island, Co Offaly, last night told how she was 14 weeks' pregnant with her second child when had a check-up last Monday after a GP referred her to the hospital due to concerns over the foetal heartbeat.

A doctor carried out a scan on Ms Nolan and told her there was no heartbeat and it appeared the baby was dead and had not grown for five weeks.

"She turned to me and I knew there was something immediately wrong by the look on her face," Ms Nolan told RTE's 'Prime Time'.

"She couldn't detect a heartbeat and said that our baby was actually dead and had not grown. I am 14 weeks' pregnant and she said that it was nine weeks, so it had more than likely been dead for five weeks."

However, when she presented at the same hospital again on Wednesday to prepare for the miscarriage of her baby, the baby was discovered to be alive and the correct gestational size.

"All the doctors just looked at each other," she said. "I asked was that a heartbeat that I could see on the monitor and she said 'yeah'."

Junior Minister Kathleen Lynch last night called for an inquiry into the events.

"Clearly what happened there shouldn't happen and I will be asking the HSE what exactly is going on in Portlaoise. We have had a fairly extensive investigation there and it is quite disturbing to see this type of instance again," said the minister.

The HSE last night apologised to the family.

Ms Delahunt, whose baby Mary Kate Kelly died, told an inquest this week a senior medic said to her that nothing like this had happened before. But she found out from a TV documentary there had been four other baby deaths with 'common threads' at Portlaoise hospital.

Source: Irish Independent

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