Portlaoise hospital apologises for ‘failings’ over death of baby

Mother of Dylan Franks thought because she had smoked she was responsible

The Irish Times reported on Thursday 28th January 2016 the Midlands Regional Hospital apologised in the High Court to a couple whose baby son died at the Portlaoise hospital nine years ago.

“We wish to express our sincere apologies for the failings which caused Dylan’s death. The hospital accepts responsibility for these failings which should not have happened,” the hospital said.

It added: “The hospital sincerely regrets the tragic consequences its failings have caused to you both and your family.”

Dylan Franks died in the operating theatre soon after his birth on March 6th, 2007.

The apology was read out in court as Dylan’s parents Aidan and Elsie Franks of Scart, Roscrea, Co Tipperary settled their action against the Health Service Executive (HSE) over the death of Dylan and also for nervous shock.

The terms of the settlement are confidential.

Oonagh McCrann SC told Mr Justice Kevin Cross in the High Court a number of opportunities were missed to deliver the baby and he should have been delivered earlier and members of the staff had indicated he was going to be delivered.

She said a huge distress for the family was when it was contended by HSE witnesses at the inquest in to the death of Dylan in 2009 that the cause of death was due to chronic utero placental insufficiency. Ms McCrann said Mrs Franks thought because she had smoked she was responsible.

Counsel said it was only after the Prime Time programmes on baby deaths at the Portlaoise hospital that the Franks began to ask questions and sought legal advice and commenced proceedings in February 2014.

The Franks had claimed there was a failure to follow through with the plan arrived at for the delivery of Dylan on February 10th 2007 and a failure to have regard to the clear evidence that Dylan was small.

The pregnancy it was claimed had been allowed to continue until after term and there was a failure to deliver Dylan prior to March 4th, 2007. There was it was claimed a failure to recognise foetal distress and a failure to give a full and accurate account to Dylan’s parents of what had happened.

It was also claimed there was a negligently concealing of the true facts and that Mrs Franks had negligently been allowed for seven years to feel that the reason for her baby’s death was placental insufficiency caused because of her smoking during pregnancy.

Liability was admitted in the case.

Approving the settlement Mr Justice Kevin Cross sympathised with the Franks on the loss of Dylan and he said he hoped the settlement would give them some sort of closure.