10-day old baby passed away at Cork University Maternity Hospital, parents claim death could have been prevented
By The Headlines, March 30, 2023 | 06:45 PM
The parents proclaimed in the inquest that they would forever feel deep sorrow in their hearts.
The parents of a baby who died 10 days after being born at Cork University Maternity Hospital assert that their daughter's death could have been prevented had the hospital been stricter in adhering to protocols and policies on responding to abnormal heartbeats detected in the fetus.
Christina & Kevin Neiland from Cork testified in Dublin District Coroner's Court that the staff at CUMH failed to recognize & react appropriately to abnormal readings from a CTG monitor which records foetal heartbeat & maternal contractions.
Tragically, the couple's first child, Faye, passed away on October 11, 2019, at Children's Health Ireland at Crumlin, where she was moved for specialized care from CUMH.
Mr Neiland expressed grave concern that hospitals like CUMH lack the resources to address emergencies quickly, citing Faye's birth as an example of a tragedy that could have been avoided had the caesarean section been performed sooner.
The couple had three daughters in total and chose to take their daughter Faye off life support, due to pressure from doctors at CHI Crumlin. They also highlighted a lack of consultation about end-of-life care options.
His wife testified that she had an uncomplicated pregnancy before being induced at CUMH on September 29, 2019, 10 days after her expected due date.
At 11.30 pm on September 30, 2019, the inquest revealed that Ms Neiland was administered more doses of oxytocin to induce labour as there were no indications of progressing labour.
Her husband is adamant that gels and oxytocin should not have been used to induce his wife's labour, especially with the abnormal CTG tracings. He believes that the induction process should have been abandoned.
Mr Neiland asserted that Faye should have been delivered via an emergency caesarean section at an earlier stage.
The midwife rang a distress signal at 7.15 am on October 1, 2019, upon being informed of the baby's entrapment in the uterine contraction.
Aoife Morris, a registrar at CUMH who reviewed Ms Neiland, stated that oxytocin should be ceased due to apprehensions that it was causing hyper-stimulation and might potentially harm the baby.
Dr Morris suggested that Ms Neiland should be prescribed terbutaline, a drug used to limit uterine contractions, which was less common in 2019 but is becoming increasingly more popular in recent years.
During questioning by the Neiland family's legal counsel, Dr Morris affirmed that she was content with her current plan and did not feel the need to involve a consultant in the patient's care.
Mr Neiland revealed at the inquest that Margaret Higgins, a midwife, had privately voiced her disagreement about the consultant obstetrician Mudathir Abdelmaboud's decision to re-administer oxytocin to Ms Neiland at 8.34 am.
When the coroner inquired regarding this, Ms Higgins stated that medical staff were aware that there was a possibility the baby may not react positively to oxytocin once more.
Coroner Gannon questioned why Dr Abdelmaboud chose to reintroduce oxytocin for Ms Neiland despite the CTG readings being similar to when Dr Morris stopped using the drug. In response, he explained that although the CTS was still abnormal, it also had “reassuring features”.
The consultant was astonished that the request for Ms Neiland to have an immediate caesarean section wasn't considered the highest priority, contrary to his expectations.
Professor Richard Greene, Ms Neiland's clinical expert, reviewed her care at CUMH and stated that they could have ordered a foetal blood sample test that may have resulted in an earlier delivery of baby Faye by caesarean section.
Prof Greene suggested that if the baby had been delivered earlier, it could have potentially resulted in a different outcome.
Nevertheless, he stated that it would have been a better choice to deliver the baby instead of providing Ms Neiland with further oxytocin, but the opportunity was missed.
Professor Greene warned that the drug might result in an exaggerated contraction of the uterus, potentially leading to deprivation of oxygen and nutrients to the fetus.
He agreed with the coroner that stopping the oxytocin treatment and replacing it with terbutaline was an appropriate decision.
The consultant suggested that the baby's condition be monitored before beginning oxytocin again since its heart rate had been steadily slowing for an extended amount of time.
Mr Neiland testified that his intuition suggested something was wrong before Faye's birth, which was later confirmed when her heart rate dropped and rose rapidly once she arrived at 10 am.
He recalled feeling fear and starting to cry when he realized Faye was in trouble, but despite that, he managed to stay strong for her happiness of meeting their baby girl.
He further said that the experience was so distressing and he was full of fear. His wife, on the other hand, was ecstatic to go from a moment of euphoria to such a nightmare. Mr Neiland expressed his dissatisfaction regarding the fact that he and Christina had to share a recovery room with other new parents and their babies while Faye was moved to a neonatal unit.
He mentioned that the midwife's congratulatory remarks had left them even more distressed as she was unaware of the situation with their baby. Mr Neiland voiced his grievances about the long wait time before obtaining details on Faye's condition which he finally received at 2 pm.
Upon visiting their daughter in CUMH, the Neilsons observed that Faye had responded to her mother's voice by turning her head.
At the inquest, the couple expressed their shock & devastation after doctors at CHI Crumlin told them that Faye was suffering from multiple organ failure and had no brain activity. This was an unexpected diagnosis, especially after one registrar had previously assured them that their baby would make it.
Mr Neiland described the preparation of prints for Faye's hands and toes and the arrival of a priest as "an unbearably sad and distressing affair". He detailed how he and his wife had been extremely stressed out for the 10 days of their daughter's life, as they were continuously concerned about her wellbeing during that time.
Mr Neiland mentioned that he and his family did not receive any support from CUMH even after Faye's death, despite his expectation for bereavement counselling. Christina only sought counselling when she returned to CUMH during her subsequent pregnancy and reported her emotional struggles. This is when a referral was then made.
Mr Neiland expressed his wife's concern regarding resuming her job as a childcare worker.
He reminded her that someone in the creche had a baby on the same day as Faye would have been born, one of many reminders that "our daughter should be with us."
Mr Neiland expressed his grief by saying that they will carry an enduring sadness in their hearts. They envision life as it could have been with Faye, but alas, reality reminds them each day of her absence.