Saturday 10 December 2016

'Why did my beautiful wife, my best friend, die?' asks grieving husband

Published 15/10/2016 | 02:30

Malak Thawley with her American husband Alan. The couple had been living in Ireland for three years when she died
Malak Thawley with her American husband Alan. The couple had been living in Ireland for three years when she died

A grieving husband whose pregnant wife died during a "simple procedure" at the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street has spoken of his struggle to cope since her tragic death.

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Alan Thawley, whose wife Malak died at the hospital in May, has revealed his agonising distress as an internal hospital report into the case criticised the standard of care she was given.

Malak Thawley, a teacher originally from Syria, on her wedding day
Malak Thawley, a teacher originally from Syria, on her wedding day

"My wife, my pregnant wife, my best friend died," he said, reliving his darkest day. "This perfectly healthy beautiful woman just died. No warning."

Mrs Thawley (34) was admitted to the hospital for an emergency keyhole operation after she was diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy.

The internal hospital report found one of her main blood vessels was accidentally torn during the procedure, and there was a lack of experience in recognising and managing the tear.

Read more: Pregnant woman died after 'artery was torn during surgery' - report

There was also inadequate communication between the medical team and a delay in decision-making. It meant that valuable time was lost in responding to the emergency and the resuscitation of the patient.

Mrs Thawley was in the early stages of pregnancy when a private scan on May 8 discovered it was ectopic, which meant the baby was developing outside the womb and putting her at risk.

The couple were living in Dublin, where Mr Thawley, who is from the US, is employed.

Mr Thawley was reassured the surgery was a simple procedure and that it would take just 45 minutes - but he endured hours of torment as doctors fought to save his wife, he told RTÉ News.

"I was told by hospital staff to relax. You will be seeing her in 45 minutes." But he never saw her alive again.

He recalled getting "cryptic messages" from nurses who tried to reassure him during the frantic attempt to save his wife's life.

Her surgery began at 4.38pm and Mr Thawley was told the devastating news of her death at 8.15pm.

Read more: Hospital 'put every obstacle in widower's way' - solicitor

Doctors who sat with him asked if there was anyone to call to accompany him home but he said there was nobody.

One of the doctors personally drove him home and gave him their mobile phone number.

Mr Thawley, who has received strong legal support, revealed he is battling to cope without his wife since losing her.

His solicitor, Caoimhe Haughey, last night criticised the decision to add Mr Thawley's response to the investigation team as a "footnote" in the report. She said he had told of how distressed and disturbed he was after getting a draft version of the document.

The hospital has apologised to Mrs Thawley's family and vowed to follow up on the report's recommendations.

It calls for a full review of how keyhole surgery is performed at the hospital, and recommends an education programme for staff on the recognition of an acutely collapsed patient under anaesthesia.

A spokesman for Holles Street last night said a coroner's inquest into the case is expected to begin soon and would allow "the facts of this tragic case to be examined in public".

Irish Independent

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