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Mum says there must never be a repeat of fatal errors

By Staff Reporter

A NORTH Belfast woman whose baby died after admitted shortcomings by the Northern Trust says she hopes her tragedy will never be repeated.

Louise McAuley, originally from Ardoyne, lost her baby Erin in 2008 at the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine. Last year, the McAuleys reached a settlement with the Northern Trust over the death of Erin.

Since then it has emerged that the death was one of 11 between 2008 and 2013 in which the Trust has admitted its response was “below standard”.  An investigation into Erin’s death has been launched by the Trust.

The family meet with investigators today (Thursday) before meeting Northern Trust representatives on Friday. Both Mrs McAuley and her husband, who now live in Ballycastle, said their focus is on making sure that lessons are learned.

Louise said: “The issue isn’t about us any more. We just feel for a couple of 17- or 18-year-olds who go into hospital to have a baby.

“If a tragedy occurs, they might be told it was a one-in-a-million chance and they’d accept that because professional doctors would be telling them.

“But I wouldn’t accept it because we were told similar things and now, six years later, we’re only really finding out the truth of what happened. We want there to be procedures put in place that hold people to account and responsible for things that happened. Her husband, Chris, added: “It should be like any other job. If a bricklayer builds a wall and it falls over, then he can’t build it back the same way. He has to find out what went wrong and do it better.”

After a trouble-free pregnancy, Mrs McAuley was due to have a caesarean section during labour. But an operating theatre was unavailable and the subsequent birth incurred serious difficulties.

Baby Erin was born but died 24 hours later after being transported to Antrim Area Hospital. The family took legal action against the Trust last year and subsequently found out they had conducted an investigation into the incident in 2009, which identified several shortcomings in the case.

In bringing their story into the spotlight, the McAuleys said they are not seeking personal apologies but instead wanted to ensure proper procedures were put in place that would ensure the tragedy is not repeated.

“Really this for everyone – people in Ardoyne and North Belfast included,” said Louise. “Everyone should be able to come out of hospital with a healthy baby. We need to make sure everything is done to ensure these incidents do not happen.”


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