Baby boy died after his mother had fatal seizure and fell on him in hospital, inquest told

A newborn boy and his mother died in a maternity hospital after she had an epileptic seizure while breastfeeding and collapsed out of bed on him.

Married mother of three, Marie Downey, 36, from Cork, Ireland, was welcomed by her obstetrician consultant Dr. A

A medical mishap verdict was reached on Thursday following a three-day investigation at the Court Coroner’s Court.

Dr. Kelehan, who testified on the video link, described Darragh as a “normal, well-grown, and well-fed” newborn boy.

He added that Darragh’s life could have been saved if a member of the hospital staff found the mother and baby within four minutes

Marie Downey, married mother of three, was 36 years old when she died.  An investigation was told that she fell on young son Darragh (not pictured) after suffering an epileptic fit

Marie Downey, married mother of three, was 36 years old when she died. An investigation was reported to have fallen on young son Darragh (not pictured) after suffering an epileptic fit

Baby Darragh Downey suffered a brain injury after his mother fell on him after a seizure, the investigation was told

Baby Darragh Downey suffered a brain injury after his mother fell on him after a seizure, the investigation was told

Dr. Kelehan also stated that Darragh’s autopsy confirmed that baby Darragh died of acute respiratory failure due to compression asphyxia and multiple organ failure.

He added that the fall of Marie and her baby out of bed was not the cause of his death, but that it was the weight of his mother’s body that weighed on him for several minutes.

He said the staggering verdict that the damage to Darragh’s brain was caused by sustained compression on his chest, forcing the sternum down toward his spine.

This squeezed the heart tightly and prevented blood from being pumped to both the heart and the brain.

He said that when Marie was picked up from him, the damage was done.

Dr. Murphy offered condolences to Marie’s widower, Kieran Downey, adding that Darragh “never regained consciousness” so “there was no suffering”.

Following the ruling, Kieran said he had “no confidence in the system and very little confidence that seismic changes will occur to prevent other families from suffering such traumatic loss,” said CorkBeo.

Ms. Downey was prescribed antispasmodic medication, which she took

Ms. Downey was prescribed antispasmodic medication, which she took “diligently” after having a seizure during her first pregnancy

The research was told that Marie's stress and fatigue were

The research was told that Marie’s stress and fatigue were “seizure triggers” and that breastfeeding may have caused stress

Marie, who had two other children, was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2010 and had multiple seizures during her two previous pregnancies, the investigation said.

She has been treated by the same obstetrician and gynecologist for all of her three pregnancies – Dr. O’Donoghue of CUMH, who said she had experience working with pregnant women with epilepsy.

Marie had stopped taking anticonvulsants for epilepsy while she was expecting her first baby due to concerns about pregnancy, but restarted at week 30 after a seizure.

According to Dr. O’Donoghue had discussed the risks of not taking the drug with her and Marie, and they were both pleased with their return to that of their neurologist, Dr. Peter Kiniron’s prescribed treatment.

Ms. Downey and young son Darragh were at Cork University Maternity Hospital when they died in March 2019

Ms. Downey and young son Darragh were at Cork University Maternity Hospital when they died in March 2019

Marie continued to take medication through her next two pregnancies.

As Dr. O’Donoghue said she never went to see Dr. Kinirons part.

At her 12-week appointment in 2018, Marie shared Dr. O’Donoghue announced that she would see the neurologist in January 2019, but was unable to attend due to family events.

Dr. O’Donoghue said she “made the assumption” that Marie had attended the appointment and admitted it was an “oversight”, not realizing Dr that she was pregnant.

She added that she was aware that Marie’s stress and fatigue were “seizure triggers” and that breastfeeding may have contributed to her stress.

She also offered condolences to Mr. Downey.

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