Poots sorry over Trust baby death

Published Wednesday, 02 April 2014
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Health Minister Edwin Poots has apologised to a Ballycastle family who lost their new born baby girl after a catalogue of failures in the health service.

Poots sorry over Trust baby death
Chris and Louise McAuley speak of their distress at losing their newborn baby. (© UTV)

Erin McAuley died while in the care of the Northern Trust almost six years ago because there was no theatre available to perform an emergency section.

Her death was one of 11 which occurred in the Trust between 2008 and 2013 and are under investigation after the Trust admitted its response had been "below standard".

Last year the Northern Trust agreed a settlement with the McAuley family as part of their civil case and the Trust admitted liability over the failures in their treatment of baby Erin and mum Louise.

But the family has told UTV they had never received an apology, saying: "We have never had anybody sit down and even say 'We're sorry, we're sorry for what's happened.'"

Appearing on UTV Live on Wednesday, DUP minister Mr Poots said: "I am sorry every time that we let people down and certainly for the McCauley family, they were let down and therefore I am very sorry about that.

Although I am not personally culpable for it I deeply regret it has happened and I deeply regret it has happened in other cases since.

Health Minister Edwin Poots

The Trust also issued an apology in a statement on Wednesday.

"The Trust admits that its handling of baby Erin McAuley fell short of the standard that Mr and Mrs McAuley should have expected in the care of their daughter. For this the Trust is truly sorry and apologises unreservedly," it stated.

"The Trust has been in contact with Mr and Mrs McAuley to arrange a meeting to discuss their case."

Louise had a trouble free pregnancy but on 11 May her world was about to be turned upside down.

A week overdue, the mother-of-one was admitted to the Causeway Hospital for a natural birth but Louise - who had her first child by caesarean - suffered a ruptured uterus.

Arrangements were then made for an emergency C-section but that was delayed because the operating theatre wasn't available.

She said: "It was just the worst feeling in the world knowing that your daughter ... you couldn't do anything for her or help her in anyway. She was dying in your arms."

A previous statement from the Trust went on to say the Health Minister has taken action to improve the performance of the Northern Trust since taking up office in 2011.

It said: "It is vital we do this with transparency because a culture of cover-up is unacceptable.

"We want the public to be informed when we get it wrong and most importantly, it is crucial that it results in a prompt and timely investigation so that any learning can be shared to ensure processes and procedures or other corrective action can be applied."

© UTV News
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