Another distressing experience at Portlaoise’s maternity unit was revealed last weekend when it emerged that parents had to bury their baby girl twice.
Janice Boland and her husband John, from Sallins, lost their first child Caitlin after an emergency caesarean section in 2006.
But more than a year later they were told that remains of the infant were retained without their knowledge.
“It was horrendous – but that was just one of the series of nightmares we had to endure,” Mrs Boland told the Irish Independent.
The issue was part of a series of lapses they suffered. Two weeks after a scan revealed no problems, the Kildare woman had to have an emergency c-section.
“When I regained consciousness I was told my baby had died. I was later told she had Edward’s syndrome.” Janice, who was a private patient, was given a single room on the same corridor as new mothers who had delivered healthy babies.
“I could hear the babies all the time. I broke down crying every night. You were told to keep quiet and you were disturbing the others. The porter staff kept coming in every night asking what milk my baby was on. They could have put some notice on the door to stop this,” she said.
Her husband was told the hospital does not provide coffins and he spent all day going around Portlaoise trying to get one. “It was horrendous,” she sad.
Janice had to stay in the hospital for five days. “They brought my baby in to me in a tin can with a white sheet over her, on a wheelchair,” she said.
Ten weeks after returning home she received a letter saying she was dead. “I had to ring the hospital and tell them that they had registered my own death,” she said.
Janice wrote a four-page letter outlining her ordeal, but said she never got a proper apology.
More than a year later she received a call from the hospital asking if she was the mother of Caitlin as they had her remains.
“I said remains, what remains. I buried my daughter a year-and-a-half ago. They said maybe they are body parts and tissue. I went into shock, I shook uncontrollably,” she said.