A COMPREHENSIVE external review into the death of a woman from Cameroon who passed away just days after her daughter’s stillbirth has been requested by her family at a pre-submission hearing in Cork.
Géraldine Yankeu died at Cork University Hospital on August 8, 2021, some days after the stillbirth of her daughter Mary.
Doireann O’Mahony, barrister for the family, said that a “halfway house” review that had taken place was totally inadequate.
“This family want the same treatment [given] to other families. There isn’t an external systems analysis review. What we received was a health care record review.
“We request that a proper investigation be conducted which will encompass interviews with staff and the family.
“The family were not invited to participate in any review of care. It is grossly unfair that they were not invited to take part. Is a further review going to take place?”
Conor Halpin, representing the HSE said that this was not a matter that related to the hearing of an inquest.
He indicated that it a was separate and entirely independent process between the family and the HSE.
Coroner Philip Comyn said that it wasn’t in his power, or remit, to direct the HSE to carry out such a review.
He stated that the legal team for the family could write to the HSE to express their concerns and to request such an investigation.
Meanwhile, John O’Mahony, also representing the family, said that maternal death is a rare event which needs to be closely examined.
In spite of his limited personal involvement in the Yankeu case, Dr O’Mahony asked that John Higgins, practicing obstetrician and gynaecologist at CUMH, be called to give evidence at the inquest.
He insisted that the attendance of Prof Higgins is required, given that he is the person at the hospital with the “most authority” in relation to high risk or complicated pregnancies.
“We have all the ingredients here to justify the calling of the head of the department, namely Professor Higgins.
“There will be unanswered questions for certain if he is not called.”
Mr Comyn agreed to put Prof Higgins “on standby” to give evidence in the event that he as Coroner wasn’t content that sufficient evidence had been given by other medical professionals at the inquest.
The full inquest will get underway on April 18 and is expected to last up to four days.