Medics had four minutes to save tot Darragh Downey’s life after mum had epileptic seizure and fell on him, inquest hears

MEDICS had four minutes to save tot Darragh Downey’s life after his mum had an epileptic seizure and fell on him, an inquest has heard.

Mum Marie and four-day-old Darragh died within 33 hours of each other after the tragedy as she breastfed at Cork University Maternity Hospital in March 2019.

The family was torn apart


The family was torn apart

Expert witness Dr Peter Kelehan, who carried out the post-mortem on Darragh, said he died of compression asphyxia and multi-organ failure.

He told Cork Coroner’s Court that Marie’s weight was “distributed across the baby’s body” after the fall.

Blood could not pump to Darragh’s brain and the compression caused the youngster’s supply to totally stop.

And Dr Kelehan said: “Unfortunately, when the body of Mrs Downey was taken off baby Darragh the damage was done.”

Questioned by senior counsel Dr John O’Mahony, for the Downey family, he accepted his life could have been saved if a staff member had walked in the room and taken medical action within four minutes of his mum’s fall.

And Dr Kelehan – who had carried out some 500 post mortems since his retirement – said this was Ireland’s most tragic maternity death case ever.

Junior counsel Doireann O’Mahony, for the family, added: “Every death is a tragedy and there is no hierarchy of tragedies when it comes to grief.

“But having known this family and what they have been through it ranks as the most horrific of fatal injury cases I have seen or inquests I have ever dealt with.”

Medical misadventure verdicts were accepted by Coroner Philip Comyn.

He said: “For Marie death would have been instantaneous she would not have suffered.

“For baby Darragh he lapsed in to a coma immediately and would not have suffered.”

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