Wednesday 13 December 2017

€850,000 for family of woman who died after giving birth

Tim Healy

THE family of a 38-year-old woman who died at Mayo General Hospital hours after giving birth to her second child is to be paid €850,000, plus legal costs, by the HSE under a settlement of their High Court action.

Evelyn Flanagan died at the hospital on October 19, 2007, as a result of serious complications following the birth of her daughter, Niamh.

It was alleged she suffered a post-partum haemorrhage as a result of a rupture of the uterus which was not detected or adequately dealt with.

Her husband Padraic (43), of Holyhill, Ballyheane, Castlebar, had brought proceedings against the HSE and a consultant obstetrician, Dr Murtada Mohamed, alleging the care given to his wife at the hospital was substandard and led to her death.

The settlement, ruled this week by Mr Justice Michael Peart, arose following a mediation of the proceedings during which the hospital admitted liability.

The settlement is to be paid by the HSE with the case against Dr Mohamed struck out.

The sum includes payments for two children and the maximum €25,395 payable for mental distress.

In a statement released after the ruling, Mr Flanagan said he welcomed "the acknowledgement of liability by Mayo General Hospital, albeit late in the day."

In legal documents, Mr Flanagan described his wife as "a very healthy, strong individual" and a great mother to the couple's daughters, Niamh (4) and Aisling (7). Mr Flanagan said he was rearing the girls alone and the loss of his wife's companionship and support "has been devastating"

Mr Flanagan is a senior executive officer with Mayo County Council. His wife was also employed with the Council as an Acting Senior Staff Officer at the time of her death.

Although an initial post-mortem report suggested Mrs Flanagan's death was the direct result of an Amniotic Fluid Embolism (AFE), a rare obstetric emergency, the family claimed the sudden deterioration in her condition could be attributed to postpartum hemorrhage.

At inquest proceedings convened by the Coroner for South Mayo, John O'Dwyer, in 2008 and 2009, John Jordan SC, argued on behalf of the family Mrs Flanagan's death could have been avoided by provision of timely and appropriate treatment.

Padraic Flanagan alleged medical staff at Mayo General Hospital failed to detect his wife was bleeding heavily from a tear in her uterus until more than six hours after the birth of their daughter.

The jury returned a verdict of death by medical misadventure.

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