Monday 23 September 2019

€650,000 award after mother died in caesarean birth

Nora Hyland: Died after a delay in receiving a blood transfusion.
Nora Hyland: Died after a delay in receiving a blood transfusion.

Tim Healy

The husband and son of a woman who died at the National Maternity Hospital hours after undergoing an emergency caesarean section to deliver her baby have settled for €650,000 in their action for nervous shock.

Nora Hyland (31), a Malaysian woman who was living at Charlotte Quay in Dublin 4 at the time, died on the operating table at the National Maternity Hospital (NMH), Holles Street, on February 13, 2012, within three hours of undergoing an emergency caesarean section to deliver her son Frederick.

An inquest later returned a verdict of medical misadventure in the case of the first-time mother, who had to wait almost 40 minutes for a blood transfusion after she suffered severe bleeding following an emergency birth.

Dublin coroner Dr Brian Farrell found the cause of death was a cardiac arrest as a result of severe post-partum haemorrhage. However, he said he was not able to say the delay in Mrs Hyland receiving blood was a "definite" risk factor in her death.

The inquest previously heard that a labelling error in the laboratory contributed to a 37-minute delay in Mrs Hyland receiving a blood transfusion.

No emergency supply units of O-negative, the universal blood type, were kept in NMH operating theatres at the time.

In the High Court yesterday, Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the €650,000 settlement on behalf of Nora's husband Stephen Hyland and their son Frederick.

The Hylands' counsel Sasha Louise Gayer SC told the court the settlement was without admission of liability. She said the Hylands were satisfied with the settlement but too upset to attend court.

Frederick had been delivered successfully but Ms Hyland began to lose a lot of blood. Steps were taken in theatre and a request for blood was made just after midnight and a blood transfusion took place at 12.45 am, Ms Gayer said.

At the inquest, counsel said the hospital had indicated new protocols were put in place regarding blood supply stock.

Mr Hyland (42), of Station Road, Portmarnock, Co Dublin, claimed he suffered severe and profound nervous shock, upset and mental distress as a result of what happened. The claims were denied.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross sympathised with the Hyland family on their loss.

At the inquest in 2014, Mr Hyland paid tribute to his late wife, whom he met while travelling in Malaysia. They were together for eight years and married for three-and-a-half years before her death.

"Nora was the most gentle, kindest, warm-hearted, beautiful little lady that I ever met. I fell in love with her the very first time that I saw her," he said.

Frederick was "full of health, full of life". "Every time I see him, I see Nora," he said.

Irish Independent

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