SOME home births are to go ahead in the Mid West region, despite the suspension of the service pending an investigation into tragic death of a County Limerick mother over two weeks ago.
That’s according to Association for the Improvement of Maternity Services chairperson Krysia Lynch who said they had been informed by a number of women in the Mid West that their home births are going ahead as planned.
This is despite the UL Hospitals Group stating that the home birth service in the Mid West was temporarily suspended following the death of Laura Liston on June 5 when she developed life-threatening health complications after the birth of her son at her home in Dunnaman, Croom.
She was taken by ambulance to University Maternity Hospital Limerick (UMHL) where she was pronounced dead.
The UL Hospitals Group commissioned an external review of the home birth service in the Mid West and stated that women registered to have a home birth in the region will have to attend UMHL until further notice.
However, the Association for the Improvement of Maternity Services (AIMS) said that the women who were going ahead with home births would be transferred to UMHL if the needed hospital care.
AIMS President Krysia Lynch told the ‘Irish Examiner’ that Ms Liston was the third woman to die in Ireland’s maternity services in recent weeks.
“AIMS Ireland expresses our deepest condolences to the families of the three women whom we understand have died in our maternity services in recent weeks.
“Service users must be assured that our maternity services are safe and fit for purpose, and we would welcome an independent external review in all cases of maternal death in Ireland as well as the public inquests which are now mandatory.”
Ms Lynch said it was vital that families were provided with accountability.
“We are devastated to learn of three recent maternal deaths in our maternity services, and we extend our deepest condolences to all the families and care givers involved,” she added.
She said campaigners had been surprised by the statement from the UL Hospitals Group which stated that home birth services in the mid-west had been suspended as a result of one tragedy, given there is no evidence to indicate that this care pathway was a factor.
“We note no suspension of service has been announced with respect to two maternal deaths which occurred in hospitals around the same time.”
Ms Lynch added: “Home birth in Ireland has repeatedly been shown to be as safe as hospital care and, by some metrics, safer.
“As such, it is a cornerstone of the National Maternity Strategy 2016, championed by current Tánaiste Leo Varadkar during his time as Minister of Health.
“Irish maternity services are very limited with respect to choice, and we support all efforts to increase the range of high-quality, safe services on offer to all expectant women, and that includes the maintenance of our national home birth service across the country.”
The HSE said it could not comment on individual cases when it “may breach the ethical requirement on us to observe our duty of confidentiality”.