Wednesday 28 September 2016

'Our little girl deserved the chance of surviving' - parents of tragic Sarah

Sarah Mahon (3) died just hours after being sent home by doctors

Published 22/04/2016 | 18:26

Sarah Mahon
Sarah Mahon

A THREE-year old girl died of toxic shock syndrome hours after she was discharged from a hospital emergency department having been diagnosed with diarrhoea and vomiting, the High Court heard.

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The HSE apologised to the parents of Sarah Mahon  who died as they drove her back to Mullingar General Hospital  about eight hours after she had been being discharged from A&E with the diarrhoea and vomiting diagnosis.

It was part of a €40,000 settlement of an action against the HSE by her father William Mahon, Pottingham Commons, Moyvore, Co Westmeath.

Sarah had first been brought to the emergency department after 5am on February 16, 2009, with a red rash on her trunk.  She was vomiting and had rapid heart rate.

Her father told the court that after an examination they had been sent home and told to give the child water.

Mr Mahon said his daughter passed away as they drove her back to hospital at 1.30pm that day.

William and Rosemary Mahon, parents of three-year-old Sarah, who died on February 16, 2009, hours after she had been discharged from a hospital emergency department. Courtpix
William and Rosemary Mahon, parents of three-year-old Sarah, who died on February 16, 2009, hours after she had been discharged from a hospital emergency department. Courtpix

He said she had not received treatment on her first visit to A&E.

He and his wife Rosemary believed Sarah could only have survived if she had received necessary treatment at A&E.

"She did not receive any treatment  If she had been treated she would have had a chance to survive.

"Sending her home and asking us to give her water  was not going to do it."

Mr Mahon said he and his wife were very traumatised by what happened.

They had waited seven years for an apology which he said was too long.

"I want the HSE to develop some formalised approach where accountability and an apology is upfront," he said.

The apology in the case had been hard fought and they had to read documents such as the post  mortem report "that no parent should have to read," he said.

They would have to live with this for the rest of their lives but they  now took solace from the fact that the recommendations of an internal investigation in to the case have been implemented.

In the statement read in court, the general manager of Mullingar Hospital  said he would like to offer sincere apologies to the Mahon family for the failure in relation to the initial diagnosis of Sarah when she attended at the hospital emergency department.

"We offer our deepest condolences to you for the tragic and untimely death of your daughter," it stated.

In the action, it was claimed there was a failure to properly interpret the child's symptoms when she first presented at the hospital.

There was also a failure to make or consider a diagnosis of possible toxic shock  and a failure to refer the child for immediate investigation, it was claimed.

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