THE family of a young mother who died just over seven months after she had a heart attack while giving birth in a hospital has settled an action for damages for €690,000.
Mother of two Jennifer Crean (35) slipped in to a coma after the heart attack as her second child was delivered by caesarean section at the National Maternity Hospital (NMH), Holles Street, Dublin in July 2008. She died on February 10, 2009,
Today in the High Court, Mr Justice Iarflaith O'Neill approved a settlement of €690,000 for Mrs Crean's husband Francis and her two sons Adam (11) and Daniel (4) arising out of her death.
Adam Crean, who was just over seven at the time of his mother's hospitalisation and death, also settled his action for damages for nervous shock for €40,000.
Adam misses his mother and has been suffering from grief, the court was told.
Francis Crean of Rosanna Close, Ashford, Co Wicklow had sued the NMH and the case was before the court for assessment of damages only.
Jennifer was diabetic and, it was claimed, she was on a long term intravenous insulin infusion via a "hickman" line.
During the pregnancy the line became regularly infected and had to be changed.
On June 30, 2008 when she was 35 weeks pregnant, Mrs Crean was admitted to the NMH with severe abdominal pain and sweating. By the next day a diagnosis was made that the likely source of the sepsis was the hickman line and she was prescribed antibiotics.
On July 2, it was deemed appropriate to perform an emergency caesarean section but after receiving a general anaesthetic, Mrs Crean had a severe cardiac arrest.
She was resuscitated and transferred to the Beaumont Hposital.
It was claimed she suffered some degree of brain damage but she suffered a further cardiac arrest sustaining severe brain damage,putting her into a vegetative state from which she never recovered and she died on February 10, 2009.
Mr Crean claimed the hospital failed to heed and act upon the serious risk of septicaemia developing and of recurrent infection of the hickman line and failed, given the complexity of Mrs Crean's pre medical history to have a multi- disciplinary case conference to include the decision when to remove the hickman line.
It was further claimed the hospital failed to remove the source of the septicaemia, the hickman line thereby allowing the antibiotics to work.
It was alleged Mrs Crean's condition deteriorated requiring her to have an urgent caesarean section. It was further claimed the hospital induced a general anaesthetic when it was wholly inappropriate to do so causing a rapid onset of severe hypoxia which in turn resulted in cardiac arrest.
Mr Crean was extremely shocked and it was claimed suffered severe emotional upset at the events in the NMH and afterwards.
He felt extremely bitter and angry at the NMH particularly in view of the fact that they appeared to ignore both himself and his wife's concerns about removing the hickman line.
It was further claimed that Mr Crean had been grieving for a long time at the loss of his wife prior to her death and he found the entire hospital experience extremely upsetting and traumatising.
It was also claimed he had to deal with his son Adam who also found his mother's vegetative state extremely difficult and had to arrange for the infant Daniel to be looked after.
Mr Justice Iarflaith O'Neill said he had no hesitation in approving the settlement.