Following last week’s announcement that an external review is to be conducted into the cases of subgaleal haemorrhages suffered by newborn babies at University Hospital Galway (“UHG”), the HSE has refrained from disclosing the exact number of infants affected. Moreover, it has stated that there was only a “small” amount of cases and that this figure was within acceptable parameters.
Causes of the Condition
The potentially life-threatening condition, also known as subgaleal haematoma, refers to bleeding in the space between the skin on the scalp and the skull, typically arising from trauma to the head. In the context of the current investigation, a subgaleal haematoma can be caused by a challenging or prolonged delivery, such as those requiring the use of a vacuum extractor or forceps.
The adverse effects of the condition can lead to the onset of anaemia and neurological problems, such as brain damage or seizures, yet the HSE has noted that all those affected and subject to the current investigation were successfully discharged from UHG.
Reasons for the Initial Review
As to the reasons for initiating the review, the HSE stated that there was a “slight increase” in the number of subgaleal haemorrhage cases in 2022, although unvalidated data has prevented it from publishing the exact number of affected infants. Further, it has said that national guidelines on best practice in this area are currently being devised.
For Further Information
Lavelle Partners are currently advising clients on this matter. For further advice or if you have any concerns about your child’s birth in light of these recent findings, please contact Avril Scally, Partner and Head of our award-winning Medical Negligence Team.