Mom Dies in Hospital Shortly After Giving Birth, Killing Breastfeeding Newborn

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New mom and baby
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What should be a joyous time for one family has turned to tragedy as a mother and her newborn son both died in a hospital in Cork, Ireland. Marie Downey, 36, was found on the floor of her hospital room lying over the body of her 4-day-old son, Darragh, just an hour after hospital staff had checked on her.

  • Despite doctors' effort to revive her, Downey was pronounced dead at the scene and her son died 36 hours later. 

    It’s believed the young mother suffered a seizure while breastfeeding and may have fallen out of bed while still holding her infant. 

    Although autopsy results have not been released, a hospital source confirmed that the mother of three had epilepsy, and other reports paint her as being otherwise healthy. 

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  • The hospital is describing Downey’s death as “a medical episode” and a “tragic occurrence” and no foul play is being suspected.


    The deaths took place at Cork University Hospital, considered to be one of Ireland’s most modern maternity hospitals. The minister of health has said that an independent review will be carried out into the deaths of Downey and her son, and a separate investigation is being conducted by the hospital's parent company. 

  • Downey, who is survived by her husband and two young sons, is being mourned across Ireland and especially in her hometown.

    The laboratory technician is being described as “a great mom who adored her boys.” A colleague tried to sum up the devastation felt by those dealing with the death of their friend. “Everyone is finding it hard to believe that both she and her baby have died in such a tragic way and we are all finding it difficult to come to terms with the ­suddenness and the sadness of it all.”

    During the emotional funeral on Saturday, Downy was laid to rest with her baby boy cradled in her arms, and her husband paid tribute to her. "Marie was a beautiful person, both inside and out. She had a heart of gold. She always put us first. We were her life and she was ours,” Kieran Downey said, according to the Irish Times. “Herself and Darragh are our special angels now."  

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