Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Protest at the Dail

There was a fantastic turn-up at the Dail this morning for midwife Philomena Canning (see my previous blog post here for all the details of her case, plus great links to her campaign site and other articles). The rain stayed off just long enough for the press to take photos and interviews, and then the downpour and thunder started. We stayed under our umbrellas until we could take it no more, then decamped to Buswells across the road for warming cuppas and chats.

I was honoured to meet the amazing Jo Murphy Lawless, and put faces to names I've only seen on Facebook. I didn't get to talk to half the people I wanted to, but was so delighted to see friends come from as far as East Clare, Cork, Waterford, Carlow, kids in tow, people taking days off work, arranging childcare, or taking the kids out of school to support this amazing woman and the important cause she stands for. Fair play to everyone involved, and lets hope it makes a difference.

Unfortunately our Health Minister, Leo Varadkar thinks this is not a pressing matter and has wiped his hands of it, according to his statement on the case yesterday, see here.

It was amazing to be in a crowd of people (not just women, as you can see from the photos) who are all united for the same cause; safety in birth. We are standing up to the bullying from the HSE, an institution responsible for many maternal and infant deaths recently, not to mention its atrocities in previous years. The HSE remains unanswerable to everyone, above the law, including our own Minister for Health. It smacks of the Catholic Church all over again.

I have been shocked to hear confirmed that there is now NO independent midwife covering mid Leinster ( South Dublin city and county, Wicklow, Kildare, Westmeath, Offaly, Longford and Laois) which has big implications for all us families hoping to have home births in the future. This is a fight we won't let go of. Tonight I'm going to contact all the TDs, HSE contacts and councillors who I wrote to previously. I'll either be thanking them for turning up today to support our cause, or I will continue to push this to them until they listen. That's all we can do. All the Facebook sharing, liking and tweeting will have no effect unless we follow it up with concrete communication with those in power.

It struck me today that yes, home birthers ARE selfish, a point that is sometimes used against us. We want the best, and we will stop at nothing to get it. We want the safest environment for our births, that's our home. We want clean, loving hands to catch our babies, those are our midwife's. We put our children's safety first, which is why we won't accept second-best. If you are in doubt that this is true, consider this: (thanks to Beverley Beech for the following, which I have edited for brevity, full piece here)
Bimbo Onanuga – died in Rotunda hospital of a ruptured uterus following a medical induction with misoprostol (a drug known to increase the risk of uterine rupture)
Nora Hyland – died in Holles Street hospital after a 40 minute wait for a blood transfusion.
Dhara Kivlehan – died after transfer from Sligo Hospital having developed HELPP Syndrome which went undiagnosed.
Savita Halappanavar – died in Galway University Hospital from undiagnosed sepsis following an inevitable miscarriage, having been denied a termination for an unviable 17 week old fetus.
Tania McCabe – died in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital from undiagnosed HELPP Syndrome
Every one of these cases was an avoidable death brought about by sub-standard care.
Not a single member of staff involved in these cases has had their registration or insurance suspended. 
The following question for the Dáil has been tabled:
On the same day that a verdict of medical misadventure was given about the death of Dhara Kivlehan, who died from HELLP syndrome,
which went undiagnosed in time by midwifery and clinical staff in an HSE hospital in Sligo, an independent midwife with an impeccable 31 year record for safety, Philomena Canning, has faced a court order confirming that her state indemnity insurance is being withdrawn by the HSE because, observing all procedures and protocols, she had transferred a woman to hospital after a home birth after when the woman felt dizzy; the woman was discharged 10 hours later perfectly well.
This court action initiated by the HSE has left at least ten women without a midwife when they are coming close to term.
How can the HSE justify its actions in putting women seeking home births at risk with too few independent midwives to serve the numbers, when women (Dhara Kivlehan, Tania McCabe, Bimbo Onanuga, Savita Halappanavar) have died in HSE hospitals and staff there continue uninterrupted to practice after inquests confirming medical misadventure?
End quote.

It is a shocking case of double standards, and hugely unlawful and unjust to all concerned. If you feel like getting involved to put pressure on the HSE (Huge Shower of Eejits) please see here for the campaign page with ways to do so. 

Thank you for your support, my readers! I will no doubt be blogging about lipstick and cakes again soon, but for now my mind is on the politics!
Nee x

1 comment:

  1. Great blog Niamh! Its great to see that we're all keeping up the pressure & all feeling the same way - dont mess with the mama bears! ;-) It was lovely to see you today - your hair is fab! :D Ash


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