Thursday 26 April 2018

HSE apologises to family of five-day-old girl who died in Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH)

Anthony Landphier and Linda Kelly of Abbey Court, Holycross, Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo: Courtpix
Anthony Landphier and Linda Kelly of Abbey Court, Holycross, Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo: Courtpix

Tim Healy

THE HSE has apologised to the family of a five-day-old girl who died in Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH).

Faith Lanphier collapsed and died after a catheter put in to give her nutrition was placed at an  incorrect low level, the High Court heard.

In an apology read to the court, CUMH CEO Tony McNamara said: "The HSE wishes to acknowledge its responsibility in the death of baby Faith on May 24, 2012 at CUMH and expresses its sincere regret and apology to Faith's parents and her wider family".

An action for nervous shock by Faith's parents was settled on undisclosed terms. The couple have five other children including twins born a month ago.

Faith was born premature and in good condition on May 19 but died at the hospital five days later.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross said it was a "sad, tragic  and unecessary death".

Approving the settlement of the action of Faith's parents against the HSE, he extended his deepest sympathy.

Anthony Lanphier and Linda Kelly of Abbey Court, Holycross, Thurles, Co Tipperary had sued the HSE  for nervous shock and over the death of their child. 

It was claimed a catheter tip was positioned within Faith's liver and this caused the rupture of the liver and the collapse of the baby five days after her birth.

It was also claimed there was a failure to position the catheter correctly within a vein.

Jeremy Maher SC, for the family, said the apology was the single most important aspect of the case.

Outside court, Mr Lanphier said the apology does not really change anything but it was comforting.

Ms Kelly said they had to bring the action for their daughter.

"Thank God I got to hold her anyway, on the second and third day after she was born. That kind of helps," Ms Kelly said.

Solicitor Cian O'Carroll said the difficulty with the apology is it came at the end of three years.

The parents, he said, had to go through the death of a five day old beloved baby, knew something went wrong, looked for answers, only to be met with denial after denial, through an inquest and then a complex litigation process.

"At the end of that three year process, you get not only an admission of liability, but then a written apology", Mr O'Carroll said.

"Something is lacking in the way these cases are being dealt with, and it’s happening week after week here at the Four Courts." he added.

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