Children's Health Ireland didn’t keep formal records of crucial meetings concerning vulnerable patient

Children’s Health Ireland at Temple Street (CHI) failed to record crucial meetings concerning a young patient living with severe disabilities – whom a report later revealed had suffered harm due to administrative failures.  

Temple Street – as well as CHI, which manages the hospital – has been the subject of an ongoing controversy since The Ditch first reported last month about the use of unlicensed springs in spinal surgery. 

In a submission to the Ombudsman for Children – which earlier this year published a report about care in the hospital – Temple Street admitted it doesn’t “formally” record multidisciplinary meetings.   

In Britain it’s standard practice for all data associated with multidisciplinary meetings, which bring together staff such as social workers, psychologists, physicians, and surgeons, to be recorded in a database in real time by a non-medical team member. 

An unlikely occurrence

Temple Street patient “Ivy”, who lives with cerebral palsy, dysplasia and neuromuscular scoliosis, was the subject of an Ombudsman for Children report. The Ditch previously reported that Children's Health Ireland ignored requests from the Ombudsman during initial enquiries before the compilation of this report. 

The Ombudsman asked CHI to clarify why the young girl hadn’t received a vital spinal surgery. It further asked for details on how the hospital intended to resolve the matter, as well as a record of all communications between the hospital and the family concerned.

The findings of the Ombudsman’s report pointed to a lack of proper communication between CHI and the child and her father over a four-year period, coupled with an inadequate handling of the parent's complaints.

The report found that the CHI wasn’t appropriately recording multidisciplinary meetings about the child’s care. 

“CHI did advise that MDTs had taken place in respect of (redacted) since 2018 but we are advised that these ‘are not formally recorded,’” reads the report. 

Multidisciplinary meetings bring together experts from different backgrounds to contribute to a patient’s care. 

A hospital physician told The Ditch that it would be unlikely for any hospital engaged in best practice to fail to keep any formal documentation of such meetings. 

The report recommended that the CHI “develop a formal record and action process for capturing contact between family/patient and clinical team members regarding updates or concerns in clinical condition”.

It is unclear if CHI at Temple Street is now keeping formal records of multidisciplinary team meetings.  

CHI at Temple Street did not respond to a request for comment.

The Ditch editors

The Ditch editors