NMH CASE: Delay in abortion investigation compounding “interminable grief”

The solicitors representing the family whose baby was aborted after a misdiagnosis of a life-limiting condition, has said the delay in investigating the tragic case is “compounding the interminable grief and sense of loss” being endured.  

CM Haughey Solicitors said today that an external review of the abortion, which took place in the National Maternity Hospital in March 2019, had still not taken place.

Peadar Tóibín TD said that Minister Simon Harris needed to a give a commitment to deliver an investigation immediately.

“I have raised this in the Dáil a number of times. The evidence shows that the law was broken & yet the state have not delivered any investigation of the case,” he tweeted in response to the pleas from the family’s solicitor.

 

The abortion took place just three months after the procedure was legalised in Ireland.  The results of tests seen after the abortion showed the baby was perfectly healthy.

The couple said that they had not raised the issue of abortion, and that they “were not scared of the prospect of caring or loving a very sick child.”

However, doctors had emphasised that tests showed there was a “fatal abnormality” and insisted there was “no hope” for their baby. They say they were told not to wait for the results of a diagnostic test as it would make ‘no difference’.

The woman was also only seen by only one obstetrician, although the law specifies that in such cases she should have been examined by two. Deputy Tóibín believes this may be a breach of the law.

It appears that the couple only gained clarity on the hospital’s error by going separately to a genetics specialist who explained the finding of the final test to them – which showed their baby had not, in fact, had an abnormality.

To date, no investigation at all has taken place and the attitude of the Department of Health and the hospital to the couple whose baby was aborted seems to be quite adversarial.

The family want the review panel undertaking the investigation to be comprised of independent experts who do not have links to the hospital staff, but that has not been agreed. There also seems to be an extraordinary delay with the provision of the woman’s full medical records.

Minister Simon Harris appears to have only met with the couple once since the appalling case occurred. The solicitor for the family has accused him  of responding in a “half-hearted manner” to their plea for a full inquiry.

The couple’s solicitor has said this family are “utterly, utterly mentally and physically devastated” by what happened to them and to their baby, and that “their loss and their grief is interminable”.

The family say that they want  “answers, the truth, and transparency” and an assurance that this will never happen to another family.

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