A grieving father whose wife died of meningitis three days after giving birth to their daughter is on a mission to help ensure other families in regional Australia won’t experience a similar tragedy.
Torie Finnane tragically died in Orange Base Hospital on December 1, 2020 – the same hospital where she was employed as a midwife.
She’d given birth just days earlier to little Maisie and had two older children, five-year-old Ollie and three-year-old Elke at home with her husband, Liam.
The 34-year-old contracted bacterial meningitis and developed symptoms the day after giving birth. Her condition rapidly deteriorated and she died in the intensive care unit within 24 hours of first complaining of a headache.
While Mr Finnane has highlighted the outstanding care his wife and newborn received in Orange, he said there’s always room for improvement.
Torie Finnane (pictured with her husband and two oldest children) tragically died in Orange Base Hospital on December 1, 2020 – the same hospital where she was employed as a midwife. She’d given birth just three days earlier to little Maisie
Ms Finnane has been remembered as an ‘amazing mother and wife’ and her husband has now created a foundation to help train up other nurses in her honour
He has launched the Torie Finnane Foundation which will sponsor nurses from local communities to do month-long exchanges with busy Sydney hospitals.
The hope is midwives will ‘then bring that knowledge back to these wards and experience situations they just don’t get out here’.
‘At the moment, as soon as there is a high risk case, mum and baby get sent off to Sydney,’ Mr Finnane said.
As was the case with Maisie. Both she and Ms Finnane contracted a bacterial infection, and Maisie spent two weeks in the neonatal ward in Sydney after her mother’s death.
Ms Finnane has been remembered as an ‘amazing mother and wife’ who also went out of her way to be the best midwife she could be for her community.
She took young staff under her wing, had experience in Sydney hospitals and birthed countless babies.
‘She will always be my soulmate and I will always love her,’ Mr Finnane said after his wife’s sudden and tragic death
Mr Finnane has launched the Torie Finnane Foundation which will sponsor nurses from local communities to do month-long exchanges with busy Sydney hospitals
‘The most upsetting thing for me personally is that Torie isn’t here to enjoy the amazing life she had, watch the kids grow up, grow old with me and see through all of the plans we had talked about for our future,’ Mr Finnane said after her death.
‘I am just shattered and find it hard to reconcile how this could happen to such a good, fun loving, compassionate person who loved life so much.’
Mr Finnane said despite the best efforts of the local medical professionals, there is still a real appetite for improving services in regional and rural communities.
He described her death as ‘one of those one in a million things that unfortunately just happened… a freak thing’ that could not have been anticipated or prevented.
‘There’s no-one to blame in this… everyone did the best they could with what they had.’
Mr Finnane said despite the best efforts of the local medical professionals, there is still a real need for improving services for regional and rural communities
Mr Finnane is now juggling running the charity with being a single dad to three (pictured together). More than $375,000 was raised by the community to support he and the kids after his wife’s sudden death
Mr Finnane is now juggling running the charity with being a single dad to three. More than $375,000 has been raised by the community to help support the family.
Their oldest son, Ollie, and two of his cousins have raised a further $6,000 for the Torie Finnane Foundation after vowing to walk 13km across the top of Mt Kosciuszko on Australia Day.
They hope to raise $10,000 in total before the hike.
Mr Finnane has urged friends and family not to stop talking about his late wife and to keep her at the forefront of their minds.
‘It is incredibly important to me and our family so please do not feel like you can’t talk about her in front of us,’ he said.
‘We were devastated and still are… Torie will continue to live on through the many stories and memories that we all have and it is so important for our young kids that they grow up knowing and cherishing these stories of their gorgeous Mum.
‘She will always be my soulmate and I will always love her.’
To find out more about Torie Finnane Foundation or to donate, click here.
While her widow Liam Finnane has commended the outstanding care his wife and newborn received in Orange, he notes there is always room for improvement