Mother’s harrowing story to inquest of how ‘we watched him gasp … he died in my arms’.

A woman who was pregnant again following five miscarriages has told of her heartbreak after her baby boy died following a series of system errors when he was being delivered at Kerry General Hospital.

Sinéad Scanlon and her partner Mike Mangan were awaiting the birth of baby Milo but her labour took an unexpected turn in the early hours of March 27th, 2015, and she had to be rushed to theatre for an emergency Caesarean section.

However, an inquest into the baby’s death heard that midwifery staff arrived to find the operating theatre in darkness. A delay in getting an anaesthetist meant Ms Scanlon could feel the incision when the Caesarean began and the anaesthetic only took effect a minute later.

Counsel for Ms Scanlon, Jerry Healy SC, told the inquest that delays in starting the procedure gave Milo little chance of survival.

The infant was transferred to Cork University Maternity Hospital where he survived for three days on a ventilator but died within hours of being taken off the machine. He died from global hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy after his brain was deprived of oxygen during the protracted delivery.
Spoke movingly

Ms Scanlon spoke movingly of getting to hold Milo in Cork. “We took turns holding him. We hugged him. We kissed him and took photos with him. We watched him gasp for air and he died in my arms around 12pm that night. We were absolutely devastated. Our beautiful baby boy was gone.”

Yesterday’s inquest into Milo Scanlon’s death, at which Kerry General Hospital apologised for the tragedy, comes in the wake of concerns about baby deaths at both Cavan General Hospital and the Midlands Regional Hospital in Portlaoise.

The jury at Cork City Coroner’s Court returned a narrative verdict – which means the cause of death is not attributed to any individual – and made recommendations that all information be communicated clearly to medical staff. It also recommended that all clocks and bleepers be properly synchronised after issues arose regarding the time it took to perform the Caesarean.

Irish Times, Barry Roche, 26 September 2016