Europe

Mother wrongly told baby was dead after hospital scan

Foetus at 12 weeks

"If she had taken the drug two days later, the baby would have died."

Michael Redmond was speaking about his wife Melissa, who was eight weeks pregnant when she was wrongly told her baby was dead.

After a check-up at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda last July, a procedure was arranged to remove the foetus.

The mother-of-three, from Donabate, north Dublin, said it was lucky she sought a second opinion and her baby boy, Michael Jr, is now 13 weeks-old.

Mr Redmond said they had not anticipated any problems when his wife went for the scan, as she felt the same way as she did when pregnant with her first two children.

"We had just come back from holiday in the west of Ireland, and we were fully sure the pregnancy was going ahead because Melissa was feeling very sick.

"She had four previous miscarriages and after a very quick scan at the hospital they said the pregnancy was not proceeding and then we would have gone for a dilation and curettage procedure.

"We were thinking this was going to be our last child and then we were given the devastating news.

"However, Melissa trusted herself and after speaking to a friend, she decided to get a second opinion from a local doctor who has a scanner.

"My God, that was a day. I felt anger, I felt joy, I felt everything, just in the space of a few seconds.

"The doctor was amazed, he couldn't believe what he was looking at, the sound of the baby's heartbeat in the room was joyous."

'Angry'

That afternoon, the couple went back to the hospital to confront senior staff and demand an explanation.

"We wanted them to confirm that the baby was there, which they did that Friday afternoon.

"We spoke to senior hospital staff but we didn't speak to the doctor who gave the original diagnosis - we never want to speak to her again.

"We were angry but at the same time they were saying you were going to have your baby."

Mr Redmond said they felt they had to go public with their story to prevent other mothers from going through a similar ordeal.

"When we decided to go forward with the story we knew there was going to be stories like this coming out, we knew there would be women wondering if the same thing happened to them," he said.

"We also had to think about those women who would be approaching the hospital in the future to see if they were pregnant.

"The health scanner was not fit for purpose; it was six years old and needed to be changed.

"The machine was finally changed six months after our diagnosis.

"We are very private people, but we had to so this to make other people aware of it."

The Irish Republic's Health and Safety Executive said in a statement that a review was undertaken after the incident, and a number of measures have been put in place at the hospital as a result.