Molloy family say ‘due process’ prioritised over patient safety

Roisin and Mark Molloy. Photo Denis Byrne.
The mother of baby Mark Molloy who died shortly after birth at Portlaoise hospital has said due process should not be prioritised over patient safety.

The mother of baby Mark Molloy who died shortly after birth at Portlaoise hospital has said due process should not be prioritised over patient safety.

Roisin Molloy was speaking following the delayed publication of the Hiqa report into baby deaths at Midlands Regional Hospital, Portlaoise due to a legal wrangle between HIQA and the HSE.

She said she and her husband Mark are concerned that “due process takes precedent over patient safety”.

“If the report into Mark’s death had been released then Mary Kate Kelly wouldn’t have died”, Ms Molloy said. Mary Kate’s mother Amy Delahunt was sent home from the hospital when she should have remained there because of signs of foetal distress. An inquest jury later returned a verdict of medical misadventure.

Ms Molloy said the knowledge was already there which could have prevented further baby deaths. She said they had a desktop review which found that baby Mark shouldn’t have died.

“We need accountability and responsibility,” she stressed.

She added that there is supposed to be a policy of open disclosure “but we see that actually means nothing”. She believes this has to have a legal footing to ensure full disclosure.

She recently contacted the HSE to ask “what is the time frame for due process?”.

“Patients don’t have that time. There are mothers going in today to have babies and they don’t have that time,” she said.

She also voiced concerns about the fact that the memorandum of understanding had only been signed with the Coombe Hospital last week. “People were attending the hospital in Portlaoise in the belief that it already had been taken over by the Coombe hospital,” she said.

Department chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan had recommended in his report that the unit be placed under the governance of the Coombe in order to provide quality and safe healthcare. He said this should take place before the end of June 2014.

The two hospitals are in the same Dublin Midlands Hospital Group, but this entity still doesn’t have a board and its chief executive, Dr Susan O’Reilly, was appointed just a few months ago.

The Hiqa report into the baby deaths was expected to be published toward the end of 2014. The report is now expected to be published in the coming weeks, the Molloy family has been told.

If there is further delay in the report’s publication, then the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar should step in, Ms Molloy said.