Saturday 20 July 2019

HSE agrees €200,000 payout and apologises for baby's death

Shock: Parents Sharon Dowling and Brian Crowe tell of their anguish over their baby Ali’s death. Photo: Collins
Shock: Parents Sharon Dowling and Brian Crowe tell of their anguish over their baby Ali’s death. Photo: Collins
Ryan Nugent

Ryan Nugent

The HSE and a hospital have apologised to the parents of a baby girl for failings in care during her birth and who later died.

Ali Dowling Crowe, who was brain-damaged, died in the arms of her mother two weeks after being born.

A letter of apology to Ali's parents, Sharon Dowling and Brian Crowe, was read to the High Court.

The HSE and St Luke's Hospital, Carlow, Co Kilkenny said they would like to "express an unreserved apology to you and your family for the failings in the care afforded to your child, Baby Ali, in the course of her birth at this hospital on January 17, 2015".

The letter added: "We extend our deepest sympathy to you and your family arising from her subsequent death on February 1, 2015."

The letter was read to the court as Ali's parents settled their action for nervous shock over their daughter's death for €200,000.

The couple, of Glenvale, Ballyragget, Co Kilkenny had sued the HSE.

It was claimed Ali suffered brain damage, allegedly caused by an acute, near total hypoxic ischemic insult (lack of blood and oxygen to the brain) during labour.

She was unwell at birth on January 17, 2015 and died on February 1.

It was claimed Ali's delivery should have been 20 or 35 minutes earlier than actually happened.

It was further claimed there was an alleged failure to interpret a CTG (recording the foetal heartbeat) suitably, sufficiently or at all and thereafter take necessary remedial action. Both parents said they suffered shock, distress and emotional upset. Ali was their first child.


The court was told that there was a partial admission in the case in relation to the CTG trace.

In a statement outside court, Ali's parents said that, as expectant parents four years ago, they never imagined that instead of celebrating the birth of their beautiful daughter, they would be arranging her funeral.

"Instead of calling loved ones telling them our much anticipated and longed for first born had arrived, we had to impart the devastating news that our baby was dead. On that day our lives changed forever and will never be the same again."

They added: "We are broken but we choose to live in hope and we will try to get on with our lives, knowing that Ali is in our hearts, our angel in heaven guiding and protecting her parents and two sisters."

Patrick Treacy SC, for the family, told the court Ali suffered brain damage from what they said was a near-total deprivation of oxygen at the time of her birth.

Approving the settlement, Ms Justice Bronagh O'Hanlon said she was glad there had been an apology. She knew no words from her or compensation that could console the parents who had lost their first child. She wished the family all the best for the future.

Irish Independent

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