Thursday 14 December 2017

Doctors had to get ice from pub after woman's blood vessel cut

Malak Thawley, who died in May 2016
Malak Thawley, who died in May 2016
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The husband of the late Malak Thawley, who died at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin while undergoing surgery for ectopic pregnancy, said he hopes lessons will be learned from her death after it emerged doctors had to ask a local pub for ice to save her life.

Mrs Thawley (35) died in May last year after one of her main blood vessels was accidentally injured during the operation.

It emerged yesterday that up to three doctors who were involved in her surgery had to rush to the nearby O' Connor's pub for ice to cool her brain as they battled to save her.

The family solicitor, Caoimhe Haughey, confirmed the incident and said she hoped the hospital has reviewed its procedures.

She said she and Mr Thawley intend to seek an explanation from the hospital regarding this ice shortage "which is critically relevant to the timeline of events and what happened".

"Hopefully the hospital will provide an explanation and take on board all the lessons to be learned from this tragic maternal death," she told the Irish Independent.

An internal hospital report said Mrs Thawley, who was undergoing a simple keyhole operation, died after one of her main blood vessels was accidentally injured by a sharp-pointed instrument used to create an opening early on in the surgery.

A barwoman in the pub yesterday recalled how she first believed the arrival of a doctor in blue scrubs was a prank.

He told her "there is an emergency at the hospital" and he said he "needed as much ice as I could give".

She gave him a plastic bagful of ice. Not long afterwards two more doctors arrived asking for more ice and she gave them two more black bags.

The master of Holles St, Dr Rhona Mahony, in a letter to Mr Thawley, said the hospital apologised for the "shortcomings in the care" provided to Mrs Thawley "which resulted in her untimely death" and for the distress and suffering this has caused.

She said: "We appreciate that in this circumstance there are no words that can begin to address the pain that follows the loss of Malak's life."

A spokesman for the hospital yesterday declined to comment on the shortage of ice during the care of Mrs Thawley. It is understood that there have been no similar incidents since.

Mrs Thawley's inquest will take place at the end of June.

The couple were living in Ireland where Mr Thawley, an American, is working.

Irish Independent

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