Family demand full apology after coroner finds mum’s death after giving birth was preventable
The family of a woman who died by suicide in a Northern Ireland hospital has demanded a full apology from health bosses after a coroner ruled her death was “foreseeable and preventable”.
Orlaith Quinn (33) took her own life at the Royal Jubilee Hospital (RJMH) in Belfast in the early hours of October 11, 2018, hours after a psychiatrist said she was not a suicide risk.
Handing down her findings on Thursday afternoon, coroner Maria Dougan outlined a catalogue of catastrophic failings in the care Mrs Quinn received following the birth of her third child.
In a statement issued after the heart-breaking findings were delivered, Mrs Quinn’s husband, Ciaran, called for bosses at the Belfast Trust to admit accountability for his wife’s tragic death. And he pledged to raise the couple’s three young children “in the way you had always hoped to do”.
During five days of evidence earlier this month, Mrs Quinn’s inquest was told a psychiatrist who assessed her after she admitted making three attempts to take her life the previous week diagnosed her with obsessional neurosis.
However, Dr Bob Boggs said he could not rule out postpartum psychosis.
Despite this, he recommended that Mrs Quinn be nursed in a “low stimulus environment” and she was moved from the main ward to a side room, from which she disappeared that night.
The Dunmurry woman’s body was subsequently found in a nearby corridor.
Responding to Ms Dougan’s findings, Mr Quinn said: “It has been over three and a half years since we lost my beautiful wife Orlaith.
“For each and every day since, we have strongly believed that Orlaith was failed by the very people who were supposed to care for her.
“We believe she did not receive the care, protection or treatment that her illness so badly demanded.”
He continued: “The verdict has shown the entire management of Orlaith during the course of her postnatal care was substandard.
“From referral to assessment to diagnosis, to care planning and to the institution of that care, there were deficiencies, mistakes and failures.
“Most importantly, the verdict has confirmed that Orlaith would not have died on the night in question and would have fully recovered from the illness from which she was suffering.
“Had my wife received the appropriate care, we would still have her today.
“We now expect a full and frank apology from the Belfast Trust and for them to accept accountability and responsibility for Orlaith’s death.”
Mr Quinn said the family will struggle with the loss of Mrs Quinn forever and is desperate that no other family suffers a similar loss.
“It is our hope that Orlaith’s death was not in vain,” he said.
“To Orlaith, we love you and miss you, I promise to do everything I can to make you proud and raise our children in the way you had always hoped to do. We will never forget you.”
The Belfast Trust has been contacted for comment.