"An undiagnosed cleft palate"

About: National Maternity Hospital

(as a parent/guardian),

Our son was born in Holles street, hospital in 2009. He was kept in ICU for a short period of time as he was jaundiced and had some respiratory problems. These matters where addressed and he was soon allowed to be discharged and to go home.

The Hospital staff performed all the mandatory checks that are required. One of these is a finger sweep of the roof of the babies mouth. This sweep did not cause any concern or was not recorded to be in any way deficient.

This was not the case as he did have a cleft of the soft upper palate. Over an 11/12 week period from his arrival home we experienced problems as regards his feeding which subsequently effected his sleep along with weight gain and early physical development. He was not able to breast feed. My wife had 2/3 visits to Holles st Breast feeding clinic which again had no success and failed to diagnose his palate defect. He had other visits to our G. P and public health nurse, as our concerns and worries began to increase.

At around the 12 week old stage, my mother in law was changing his nappy and noticed that the piece of tissue which is hanging down at the top of the throat area (uvula) looked unusual. Instead of one uvula he had two.

Following this discovery we could now seek help from the right departments and get him the help that he needed. He had an operation performed by the plastics team in Temple st, and has responded very well since.

We did contact Holles St to raise the issue along with our upset and anger about the suffering this failing on the hospitals part had caused. We received an apology and an assurance that from then on, all babies would also be given a visual check along with a finger sweep before discharge. We were back in Holles St 14 months later for the birth of our daughter and this check was carried out. My concern would be that all the maternity hospitals in the country are not carrying this check out and possibly allowing this situation to happen again to other parents and children.

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