Tuesday 15 October 2019

Family gets €650,000 for nervous shock following woman's childbirth death

Stephen Hyland (centre) with his parents Mary Hyland & Syl Hyland at the Coroners Court inquest into the death of Stephen's wife Nora Hyland at Store Street, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Stephen Hyland (centre) with his parents Mary Hyland & Syl Hyland at the Coroners Court inquest into the death of Stephen's wife Nora Hyland at Store Street, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Tim Healy

The husband and son of a woman who died at the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) hours after undergoing an emergency caesarean section have settled their High Court action for nervous shock for €650,000.

Nora Hyland (31), who is originally from Malaysia, of Charlotte Quay, Dublin, died on the operating table at the NMH, Holles Street, Dublin, on February 13, 2012, within three hours of undergoing an emergency caesarean to deliver her son Frederick.

Liability was not admitted and the hospital denied the claims.

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 that he was not able to say the delay in Mrs Hyland receiving blood was a "definite" risk factor in her death.

The inquest also heard 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 operating theatres at the NMH at the time.

On Friday, 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, told the court the settlement was without admission of liability.

She said the Hylands were satisfied with the settlement but were too upset to attend court.

Counsel said Frederick, their first child, was 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.  A blood transfusion took place around 40 minutes later.

At the inquest, counsel said, the hospital indicated new protocols were were later put in place in relation to blood supply stock.

Mr Hyland, (42)  Station Road, Portmarnock, Co Dublin had sued the NMH for nervous shock over the traumatic circumstances leading to and surrounding the death of his wife.

It was claimed the medical records report that no blood was given to Ms Hyland until 12.40am  when she had her first transfusion of the O negative blood. She had several more units of blood but she went at 1.45 am Ms Hyland went in cardiac arrest and efforts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful.

Mr Hyland claimed he suffered severe and profound nervous shock , upset and mental distress as a result of what happened.

At the time of 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 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. She was just full of life, loved nature, loved animals,” he said.

Their son Frederick was “full of health, full of life," he said. 

"He is making me laugh and smile and every time I see him, I see Nora."

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