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Two newborn deaths at Cavan General Hospital probed

Health chiefs have launched investigations following the deaths of two newborn babies within days of each other in Cavan General Hospital.

It is understood one infant died on Sunday morning after an emergency Caesarean section was ordered. The baby died before delivery.

A consultant is required to be in the hospital for the surgery to take place.

Part of the inquiry will examine whether there was any delay in contacting the on-call obstetrician or carrying out the operation.

It is understood the first baby died last Wednesday, one day after being born.

Cavan General is part of the new Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland hospital group, which declined to comment.

“It is not the policy to comment on individual cases,” a spokesman said.

The baby deaths will be examined internally by senior management in Cavan or the RCSI before determining whether any issues need to be investigated or reviewed by an independent body or watchdog like the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa).

Cavan was subject to a number of investigations after four newborn babies died in the space of two-and-a-half years from late 2012 to May 2015.

The hospital’s maternity unit provides services for about 2,000 births a year.

The state’s 19 maternity hospitals and units are required to publish statements each month on patient safety but the most up-to-date for Cavan is from last December.

It said the perinatal mortality rate was 8.3, with 120 births recorded in that month and the figures adjusted per 1,000 births, similar to the rate in the UK.

More than one third of births involved a Caesarean, the statement said.

The Health Service Executive said the statements should act as “early warning mechanism for issues that require local action and/or escalation”.

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The statements also include information on major obstetric events, modes of delivery and clinical incidents.

“The objective in publishing these statements is to provide public assurance that maternity services are delivered in an environment that promotes open disclosure. It is intended that reporting in an honest and open way helps build trust and improves clinical performance and the culture of safety,” the HSE website states.

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