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Dublin: 10 °C Saturday 8 August, 2020

Minister promises review into deaths of Marie Downey and her son in Cork hospital

Marie was pronounced dead at the hospital last Monday. It’s understood she may have suffered a seizure while feeding her son.

Cork University Hospital
Cork University Hospital
Image: Google Maps

AN INDEPENDENT REVIEW will be carried out into the death Marie Downey and her son, Darragh, in Cork University Maternity Hospital this week, Health Minister Simon Harris has announced.

Speaking about the tragic case today, Harris extended his sympathies to Marie and baby Darragh’s family. 

Marie was pronounced dead on Monday after she was found lying over her son on the floor at the hospital on Monday.

RTÉ reported yesterday that it is believed that she may have suffered a seizure while feeding her son.

Darragh Downey, her newborn baby, was pronounced dead at the hospital on Tuesday.

Asked about the case today, Harris said he did not want to say anything that would add to the pain that the families are going through, but did address the next steps in the inquiry about what happened. 

Harris committed that an independent inquiry into the case would be held, stating that it “certainly would not be enough” for the hospital to solely investigate the case.

He added that following another tragic maternal death, he changed the procedures whereby there is now an automatic independent review from the women’s and infants health programme under the auspices of Dr Peter McKenna in such cases. 

He confirmed that would also happen in this case. 

Meanwhile, the funeral arrangements have been announced for Marie, who is a mother-of-three, and baby Darragh. 

Mother and baby will be laid to rest together in Castletown Cemetery, Co Limerick, following a joint funeral mass, in St Michael’s Church, Ballyagran on Saturday.

According to an obituary notice, prayers will be said for the tragic mother and her “beautiful baby boy Darragh”, at her parents’ home in Ballyagran this evening. 

The notice states that Marie is “deeply mourned by her heartbroken husband Kieran, her adored sons and Darragh’s big brothers James and Sean, dearly loved daughter of Jim and Helen, parents-in-law Tom and Elma, brother-in-law Patrick, sisters-in-law, Una, Fiona, Ellen and Mairead, aunts, uncles, relatives, neighbours and many friends”. 

Post mortems have been carried out on the woman and infant, and a report on their autopsies will be furnished to the Cork City Coroner’s Office.

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