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Nicola Keane

HSE apologises to family of woman who killed baby son and took own life in 2020

“We offer an unreserved apology for the care delivered to Nicola which resulted in her tragic and untimely death and that of their son, Henry” the HSE said.

THE HSE HAS apologised to the family of a 34-year-old woman with severe postnatal depression, who killed her baby son and took her own life in 2020. 

RTÉ News reported that Nicola Keane killed her seven-month-old son Henry on 22 October 2020 before leaving her home in Lucan and taking her own life while her husband, Darren Coleman, was asleep. 

Keane was a paediatric nurse in Crumlin Children’s Hospital. 

The HSE today apologised before court to her family and to Coleman over her death.

In a statement this evening, the HSE Dublin South, Kildare and West Wicklow Community Healthcare said it acknowledges “the profound and devastating impact that the deaths of Nicola and Henry have had on Mr Coleman”. 

“We would like to extend our deepest regret and sincere sympathies to him and to their extended families,” it said. 

“We offer an unreserved apology for the care delivered to Nicola which resulted in her tragic and untimely death and that of their son, Henry,” the statement said. 

It continued: “We would like to stress our commitment to improving our level of care and reduce the possibility of any similar tragedies in the future incorporating the learnings from this tragic event.

“We understand that neither this nor our apology can negate the deep loss felt by Mr Coleman and other family members.” 

RTÉ News reported that the court heard that after Henry’s birth in February 2020, Keane began to suffer from postnatal depression.

The court heard that Keane went on to experience delusions and psychotic episodes, but Coleman did not know. The court heard that if he had known, he would have taken time off work to care for the baby and would have taken steps to have Keane admitted to hospital.

Speaking outside the court today, Coleman said that “finally, we now have an admission of liability by the HSE regarding the negligent care given to Nicola and Henry”.

“Nicola’s family and my own family welcome the apology read out in court today by the HSE,” he said. 

Coleman said that the mental health system in Ireland “is broken”.

“Mental health is not a priority in this country. Investment in mental health is a necessity. People with mental health issues don’t receive the same level of care as those with a physical condition,” he said.