Echoes of both Savita and Tania McCabe once again at inquest of Bimbo Onanuga today

 AIMS Ireland calls for accountability and clinical review following verdict of medical misadventure

(Tuesday, 5 November 2013) The Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services Ireland (AIMS Ireland) today petitioned for accountability, a review into clinical care practices, and national guidelines on the use of the drug misoprostol (cytotec) following the verdict of medical misadventure returned at the inquest into the death of Bimbo Onanuga at the Dublin Coroner’s Court today. Bimbo Onanuga’s inquest has once again exposed underlying critical flaws in basic clinical care within an Irish maternity unit, echoing concerns raised following reports into the deaths of both Savita Halapanavar and Tania McCabe.

The HIQA report into the death of Savita Halapanavar published last month found ‘The most basic means of identifying any patient at risk of clinical deterioration is to observe the patient’s general condition and regularly monitor and track their clinical observations. This should be a basic component of caring for any patient.’ Abiola Adesina, Bimbo Onanuga’s partner, told the inquest yesterday that Bimbo was rolling around and in constant pain following admission to the Rotunda Hospital in March 2010 and that attempts to raise concerns were disregarded as a normal progression of labour. Bimbo, who had a number of risk factors in relation to the intrauterine foetal death, had received misprostol (cytotec) to induce labour.

Krysia Lynch, Co-Chair of AIMS Ireland, commented “The parallels between Savita, Tania, and now, Bimbo, are staggering. We see once again a catalogue of basic fundamental failures from a lack of documentation to basic clinical observations. Most crucially, we once again see a comprehensive failure by health care providers to listen to women. This is a reoccurring complaint from women contacting AIMS Ireland – they do not feel their concerns are acknowledged or listened to. In a critical medical event, this can be the difference between recovery or death.”

On the issue of the use of the drug cytotec, Lynch added “Misoprostol has been linked to uterine rupture and is not recommended for use in induction. The Royal College of Physicians in Ireland (RCPI) guidelines on cytotec use sit outside those of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) in the UK, which raises a red flag and unanswered questions. AIMS Ireland is calling for full accountability and transparency. We ask the Rotunda, did Bimbo receive the basic care, monitoring and a care plan consistent with her clinical needs? Was she appropriately and effectively monitored given the use of the drug misoprostol? Has the Rotunda taken proper and appropriate steps to update staff about the use of the drug misoprostol? Why do their guidelines continue to sit outside those of the RCOG? This is a matter of public interest.”

Concluding, Lynch said “We very much welcome this verdict of medical misadventure from the Coroner Brian Farrell. Despite significant efforts to hide the circumstances of Bimbo’s death, the truth is now on public record. After fighting for many years for this inquest and to have her story heard, Bimbo’s family is finally vindicated.”


Notes to Editors:

UK & Irish guidelines on the use of Cytotec/Misoprostol for medical induction of labour after an intrauterine foetal death (IUFD)

RCOG Guideline:

The RCOG Green-top Guideline No.55 Late Intrauterine Fetal Death and Stillbirth, published in October 2010 recommends the use of low doses of misoprostol (50 or 100 micrograms depending upon gestational age) when inducing labour:

“The RCOG is aware that protocols employing much larger doses of misoprostol are still being employed in the UK, with consequent potentially associated adverse effects. Each maternity unit is advised to review their protocol for the management of induction of labour under these circumstances and to adopt the recommended misoprostol dosaging. Currently, misoprostol is only available in the form of a 200 microgram tablet; however the required dosage of 50 or 100 micrograms can be obtained by cutting the tablet or by dilutional methods. Your hospital pharmacist will be able to assist you with this if necessary.”

RCPI Guideline (Appendix 4)

“On the day of diagnosis of IUFD

Mifepristone 200mg PO

36-48 hours after diagnosis

24-34 weeks Misoprostol 200mcg PV followed by 200mcg PO 3 hourly x 4 doses

>34 weeks Misoprostol 100mcg PV followed by 100mcg PO 3 hourly x 4 doses

A second course may be started after 24 hours and with medical review”

Comments are closed.