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Inquest into mum-to-be's hospital death to start by May

DIED: Bimbo Onanuga was heavily pregnant when she died. Pic posed by model

AN INQUEST into the hospital death of a heavily pregnant Nigerian woman could take place in May.

Lawyers for Bimbo Onanuga’s family told the Voice they were pushing for a date in that month to answer remaining questions surrounding the 32-year-old’s death.

The inquest is set to take place at the Dublin City Coroner’s Court, Store Street, Dubin 1 between “late April and early May”, the Coroner’s Office also confirmed.

Onanuga was seven months pregnant when she died in a hospital in Dublin, Republic of Ireland on March 3, 2010. Her death happened just days after she was sent away from the Rotunda Hospital.

Coroner Brian Farrell initially ruled out the need for an inquest, a decision opposed by campaigners such as the Irish branch of the Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services (AIMS) and Akidwa, the network for African women in Ireland.
Onanuga’s solicitor and her family confirmed the inquest would now go ahead.

Akidwa’s CEO Salome Mgbua welcomed the news, telling the Voice: “I think this is probably because of the pressure they got from different people to have an inquest. They (people) feel that Bimbo was treated very badly. I think that it’s very good that the inquest is actually happening.”

Onanuga had been referred to the Rotunda Hospital on March 1, where she had been told her baby had died in the womb. The 32-year-old was told to come back on March 4 but was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance with crippling pain one day earlier. She was later pronounced dead.

Her Husband, Abiola Adesina, who was with her at the time, claims medical staff seemed to downplay the seriousness of her condition.

Adesina told the Voice previously: “I could see that something was wrong. The nurse who was there with me was telling me it’s no problem, that some people exaggerate.

“I wanted to get out and maybe find someone else to come in and look at her but Bimbo was holding my hand really tight. I was actually shouting until another person walked into the room, and that was the one who raised the alarm”.

REFORM: The Rotunda Hospital where Bimbo Onanuga died

Onanuga’s death promoted a hospital and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation and led to a series of hospital reforms, especially as it was reported that another pregnant woman had died at the Rotunda during the same period.

In its report, the HSE highlighted hospital failures such as insufficient training among some midwifery and nursing staff on the gynaecology ward and inadequate life support skills and management.

At the hospital, HSE also found out-of-date guidelines on the treatment of women ‘experiencing death of the
foetus in the uterus’ and added that there was a lack of facilities for detecting warning signs such as changes in the patient’s blood pressure and temperature.

However, the report and its recommendations were only made public after pressure was applied by AIMS that led to questions being asked in the Irish Parliament, The Dáil, by Socialist Party representative Clare Daly.

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