Letterkenny University Hospital have issued an apology after misleading the mother of a baby who passed away prematurely regarding the whereabouts of his remains and for preventing her and her partner from attending the burial.
Baby Eoin had been born in October 2016 in the second trimester, but sadly he passed away due to complications relating to a rare chromosomal condition called Turner’s syndrome.
Lisa, who does not wish to disclose her second name, told RTÉ’s ‘This Week’ programme that she is now pushing for reform in hospitals across the country regarding the treatment of babies’ remains and for full disclosure to be given to their parents relating to their baby’s burial.
A staff member told Lisa and her partner that little Eoin had been placed in a mortuary and buried a week after his death, when in fact he had been left in a store room in the gynaecology ward for the four week period following his death.
In a letter shown to RTÉ by Lisa, Letterkenny University Hospital apologised for the “deep hurt and distress which had been caused to both of you when [a member of staff] told you that your baby had not been buried and led you to believe your baby was in the mortuary when this was not the case”.
Lisa had been told that she could not attend his burial due to “private and confidential reasons”.
The letter of apology also vowed to never let a similar incident happen again.
“We are sorry that you were failed by Letterkenny University Hospital in relation to the burial of your son, Eoin, and that this was not carried out in the timescale and manner agreed with you. Unfortunately and sadly we cannot change that. We can and will, however, ensure that baby Eoin’s legacy will be that this does not ever happen again.”
Lisa believes that parents of miscarried and premature babies should be allowed to attend their baby’s burial at the Little Angels plot, and to know exactly where the site of their baby’s grave is within the plot.
Speaking to RTÉ Lisa said that was felt “infuriated” by the response, and prays that other parents will never have to go through the same suffering her and her partner have had to endure.
“My child had to lie for four weeks for them to open their eyes to this. I don’t understand how anyone could leave a human being, a baby, lying in a room for four weeks”.
“I don’t want anybody else to suffer the way we’ve suffered and continue to suffer. I don’t think anybody should have to go through that and I just pray and hope to God that this never happens again.”
“Every hospital has to put a protocol in place so that people know when they’re going in, if they lose their baby that they know what’s going to happen, that you can or can’t go to the burial. They need to know all this before they make the decision.”
RTÉ contacted Saolta Hospital Group, of which Letterkenny University Hospital is a member. A spokesperson for Saolta told RTÉ that they cannot discuss details of particular patients with the media, however in the statement they said that they “would like to take this opportunity to apologise again to the patient and her family for any distress caused.
“We have already revised our systems and are currently reviewing our policies for patient information and consent so as to ensure that we are in line with best international practice”.
Saolta released an 86 page HSE document regarding bereavement care, however upon reading it Lisa said that it failed to address any of the issues she experienced.