Saturday 22 July 2017

'Malak asked me to pray for her,' nurse reveals to inquest

Malak Thawley (34) who died in Holles Street in May 2016
Malak Thawley (34) who died in Holles Street in May 2016
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

A nurse caring for Malak Thawley told how the young woman nervously grasped her hand before undergoing surgery and asked her to pray for her.

Mrs Thawley (34), who was about to undergo a low-risk operation for ectopic pregnancy in the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, died four hours later after one of her main blood vessels was accidentally injured.

The tragic events of a sunny Sunday on May 8 last year unfolded as an inquest into her death opened in Dublin yesterday. It heard of a lack of blood supplies and how one junior doctor had to go to a nearby pub to fetch ice when a haemorrhage occurred.

Mrs Thawley, who was seven weeks pregnant, was living in Blackrock with her American husband Alan while he was working in Dublin.

Nurse Auri Tavsisora revealed that Mrs Thawley "held my hand very tightly and asked me to pray for her".

She recalled: "I said Jesus, Mary and Joseph pray for her."

Heartbroken Mr Thawley, who is described as "emotionally fragile" and "in a state of anxiety" by his solicitor Caoimhe Haughey, was advised by a psychiatrist not to attend the inquest.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane, who was given Mr Thawley's statement for consideration before the proceedings, said she was very moved by it but in its current format it is "not part of my inquiry".

Read More: Husband of tragic mum-to-be Malak Thawley 'too stressed' to attend inquest

Simon Mills, SC for Holles Street, said aspects of the statement "bordered on the outrageous" and were not relevant to the issues before the inquest.

Dr David Crosby, a specialist registrar who performed the keyhole surgery, said he was trained in the procedure and had 15 such operations without independent supervision.

Not long after the surgery beginning at 4.38pm unexpected bleeding emerged. He was unclear if it was due to a ruptured ectopic pregnancy or an injury to a blood vessel. He called the senior obstetrician who was on call and at 5.35pm Dr Mary Barry, a vascular surgeon at St Vincent's, identified the kind of injury involved.

A catalogue of incidents was recalled by witnesses. Additional surgical equipment, including vascular clamps, had to be obtained from St Vincent's and the Blackrock Clinic with a Garda escort.

A nurse told how she bleeped the laboratory three times for blood supplies and got no answer. Four units were used from the theatre fridge, but more was needed. A junior doctor said blood pressure equipment could not give an accurate reading.

The theatre had reduced staff due to it being a Sunday, although more nurses were deployed once the emergency was alerted. Dr Matthew O Tuathail, who was working in the hospital emergency department as junior doctor, said he was asked if he would like to observe the surgery.

When an emergency protocol following haemorrhage was triggered he was asked to find ice. The hospital did not have supplies of ice and he went to a nearby pub for supplies.

The hospital had previous drills on how to respond to an obstetric haemorrhage but not this kind of emergency.

The coroner repeatedly questioned witnesses on who was co-ordinating the response and who was the line manager.

The inquest continues today.

Irish Independent

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