The Ballycastle parents of baby Erin McAuley, who died in Antrim Hospital because no operating theatre was available to perform an emergency Caesarian section, have said they would welcome Health Minister Edwin Poots into their home “to discuss this matter on a personal level if he feels that is needed.”
Chris and Louise McAuley spoke out publicly about the heart-breaking events surrounding the death of their daughter in 2008.
Baby Erin was just 20 hours old when she died after being transferred from Coleraine’s Causeway Hospital to Antrim Area Hospital almost six years ago.
Her death was one of 11 which occurred in the Northern Trust between 2008 and 2013 and are under investigation after the Trust admitted its response had been “below standard”.
Not only did Chris and Louise face the agony of losing their beloved daughter but the grieving father also faced the very real prospect of losing his wife too.
“It was a very emotional time and one that no parent should ever experience,” Chris told the Ballymoney and Moyle Times.
“Our daughter had passed away and I was now looking at my wife in severe pain and being told she had to go for another operation and it was life or death .
“The numbness was horrific -I was watching my wife struggling for life and my daughter had just died all in the same room.
“Louise spent a further five days on a life support machine after Erin had passed away. Another operation had been performed in under 24 hours to stop internal bleeding from the operation at the Causeway Hospital.
“She had lost 10 units of blood. Louise was discharged from Antrim Hospital eleven days later.
“We then had to plan Erin’s funeral instead of her christening, something that no parent wants to do.”
Only after extensive media coverage of the McAuley’s devastating experience did a senior member of the Northern Trust issue an apology.
North Antrim MLA Daithi McKay alsocalled on Health Minister EdwinPoots to apologise inperson to the McAuley’s.
Now Chris and Louise have said that if the Health Minister wanted to discuss the matter “on a personal level”, they would welcome them into their home.
Chris McAuley told the Times: “My family’s case is one of many and we would be fully supportive of trying to make the services in our Trust work, restoring confidence.
“People feeling safe in an environment where they can get the best care in our up-to-date hospitals is what we all strive for.
“By outlining what happened to my daughter and my wife we hope that more families come forward who have issues but never carried them any further forward.
“More truth needs to be transparent in all of the cases.
“With this and the best training and procedures put in place from past mistakes, it will make a stronger Trust and restore confidence in the public.
“Everyone is accountable for what they do in life - a doctor is no different than a plasterer or a bricklayer.
“They are all held accountable for their actions and answer for them.
“Nobody in any profession should hide behind the truth of what happens,
“We don’t want our daughter’s death to be forgotten about as we owe it as parents and human beings to seek the truth of what really happened.
“Procedures from the investigation should be known as Erin’s Truth and used for the future.
“The truth is all we ever wanted about our daughter and never got until we pressed for it.
“An apology would be nice and we would accept that fully and help with anything we could to make our maternity wards safer for all mothers and families.
“Mr Poots is more than welcome to come to our home and discuss this matter on a personal level if he feels that is needed.”