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October 20, 2014

Coroner to contact IMB over woman’s death

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Dr Brian Farrell, Dublin Coroner

Dr Brian Farrell, Dublin Coroner

By Catherine Reilly

The Dublin Coroner is to contact the Irish Medicines Board regarding “issues raised” at the inquest into the death of a Nigerian woman following treatment at the Rotunda Hospital in March 2010, a spokesperson has told IMT.

Coroner, Dr Brian Farrell has returned a verdict of medical misadventure at the inquest into the death of Bimbo Onanuga, a 32-year-old admitted to the Rotunda for labour induction following an intrauterine death over seven months into pregnancy.

At 11.20am and 2.20pm on March 4, 2010, Onanuga was administered misoprostol (Cytotec), an anti-ulcer drug commonly used in Ireland for induction but not licensed for this purpose. Maternal collapse occurred after 3pm.

At an earlier hearing, consultant  pathologist Prof Conor O’Keane of the Mater Hospital, who performed the autopsy, said part of Onanuga’s uterine wall was abnormally thin and implantation of pregnancy had occurred at this point. She died following uterine rupture.

At that same hearing, it was established that a previous termination of pregnancy was included in Onanuga’s booking notes at the Rotunda.

On November 4, Onanuga’s partner Abiola Adesina, represented by barrister Dr Ciaran Craven, told the inquest that his pleas for assistance were ignored while his partner was in increasing pain. Emily Egan SC, for the Rotunda told Adesina that Dr Louise Fay had examined Onanuga at 2.30pm and had no clinical concerns about her condition. “She was in pain and I was telling Dr Fay that she was in pain,” replied Adesina. “But she was not listening,” he added.

Onanuga’s pain worsened until she was “struggling to breathe” but nurse and midwife Sheila Lynch “stood by the window with papers”, he said.

“I screamed at her and I said she had to call a doctor. She said Bimbo was faking the pain.” Lynch denied this.

Onanuga was transferred to the Mater Hospital in a critical condition and died the night of March 4. Several days later, Adesina said he attended a meeting at the Rotunda with other relatives and the Master, Dr Sam Coulter-Smith, who allegedly told them that Onanuga died “due to a series of mistakes”.

In evidence, Dr Coulter-Smith rejected that he had said this. He said the Rotunda was aware of a previous termination but there was no information as to any complication that may have occurred.

Meanwhile, the Medical Council has stated that it never confirms whether it has received or is investigating individual incidents prior to a fitness to practise inquiry being held, if this occurs.

catherine.reilly@imt.ie