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Dublin: 22 °C Tuesday 4 August, 2020

Tania McCabe’s family shocked that HSE still behind on sepsis testing

Tania McCabe’s father-in-law told that he wants a routine test for sepsis introduced in Irish hospitals.

Philip, Adam and Aidan McCabe
Philip, Adam and Aidan McCabe
Image: The Tania McCabe Foundation

Updated 10.0pm

THE FAMILY OF Tania McCabe, a garda sergeant who died from sepsis following childbirth in 2007, said earlier today they are surprised and saddened to learn that Irish hospitals have not implemented recommendations that arose from a report into her death.

“It was a tough [day], as so far as, we didn’t think they were still so far behind,” Philip McCabe, Tania’s father-in-law told

“We were surprised. We thought that the recommendations that were put in place in [Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital] Drogheda would be standardised nationally.”

Yesterday, a HIQA report said there were ‘disturbing similarities‘ between the death of the 34-year-old and Savita Halappanavar in Galway last year.

“Why can’t they bring in a test for sepsis,” McCabe asks. “For someone in that situation it would cover a lot of things. The only message we have for the HSE is to – in the interest of future patients, and not just women having babies but everyone admitted – have a policy to test for sespis as a matter of course. This happens in American hospitals as it can hit anyone at any time.

It would give people some chance. Because with sepsis, you can hit a point of no return if it id not caught. You are doomed. Getting it early, seeing what it is, is key.

As part of the investigation into the death of Savita Halappanavar, HIQA requested the HSE to provide details of how the recommendations of the report into the circumstances of the 2007 deaths of Tania and her infant baby Zach had been implemented at each of the 19 public maternity units.

Of the 19, only five provided a details status update for all 27 recommendations of that report. They were the Midland Regional Hospital Mullingar, Coombe Women’s and Children’s Hospital, the Rotunda, Our Lady of Lourdes Drogheda and the Mid-Western Regional Maternity Hospital.

Of the remaining 14 – including University Hospital Galway – six reported their status against a different investigation or gave no comment. A number of the six reported that evidence for implementation was not in existence.

However, McCabe did not want to be negative about Ireland’s maternity services, given that other women had to present themselves today.

His family have tried to create positives out of the tragedy, including setting up the Tania McCabe Foundation to raise money for purchasing specialist incubators.

Adam, Zach’s twin brother, was cared for at the Special Care Baby Unit at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda and also at Holles Street Maternity Hospital for some time after his birth.

“It is a work in progress,” continued McCabe. “People are making donations and it quite amazing what generosity is out there at this present time.”

Meanwhile, Adam continues to thrive having turned six last March. Tania’s husband, Aidan, and eldest son Ben are also “doing well”, according to Philip.

First published 1pm

Read: Lack of information means HIQA can’t assure safety of maternity services

More: ‘Disturbing similarities’ between Savita and Tania McCabe deaths

See: This shocking graph shows 13 “missed opportunities” in treatment of Savita

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