Monday 16 December 2019

'Cascade of negligence' caused Malak's death, High Court told

Malak Thawley
Malak Thawley

Tim Healy

A man whose wife died during surgery for an ectopic pregnancy at the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) has sued in the High Court.

Malak Thawley (34) was expecting her first baby with husband Alan when she died at the Holles Street hospital on May 8, 2016.

The court was told by Mr Thawley's counsel, Liam Reidy, what happened was a "cascade of negligence". Exemplary damages are also being sought in the case.

Mr Thawley can't get over his wife's death and has "severe hopelessness", he said. Mr Thawley (31), of Brusna Cottages, Blackrock, Dublin, has sued the NMH over the death of his wife, who was from Dallas.

It is claimed that Ms Thawley suffered a cut to the surface of her aorta. There was allegedly mismanagement of the injury and of Ms Thawley's deteriorating condition. Mr Thawley has also sued for nervous shock.

The case is before the court for assessment of damages only.

Yesterday, the NMH apologised and admitted liability for the events. Eoin McCullough SC, for the hospital, extended deepest condolences to Mr Thawley and apologised for the events that led to her death.

Earlier, opening the case, Mr Reidy said the Thawleys had been profoundly happy when Malak became pregnant. At a six-week scan, they were told to go to the NMH for advice about the ectopic pregnancy. The couple were reassured it was a routine 30- minute procedure.

Ms Thawley was taken to theatre at 4pm and at 5.30pm a nurse told the husband a lot of blood was found in the abdomen. At 6.30pm, a doctor said she had lost 10 units of blood.

At 7.30pm, Dr Rhona Mahony, Master of the NMH, told him the situation was very serious. Dr Mahony said there was "a chance your wife could die". About 20 minutes later, she returned with a specialist surgeon and said: "Malak is dead."

Counsel said Mr Thawley was told a trocar had been inserted in the abdomen and it had torn the aorta.

Mr Reidy said Mr Thawley remembered saying, "Are you telling me it was a mistake?" and the surgeon said, "Yes, it was medical misadventure."

The case resumes on Tuesday.

Irish Independent

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