Saturday 24 March 2018

Husband of tragic mum-to-be in 'shock and horror' at hospital report into her death

Tragic mum-to-be died as crucial surgery equipment 'not available'

Malak Thawley, who died in Holles Street Maternity Hospital last May, pictured with her husband Alan
Malak Thawley, who died in Holles Street Maternity Hospital last May, pictured with her husband Alan
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Vascular clamps that control blood loss were not available to doctors treating a pregnant woman who suffered a punctured blood vessel during surgery at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin, an inquest was told yesterday.

Senior counsel Liam Reidy was speaking at a preliminary hearing into the death of Malak Thawley (35), of Brusna Cottages, Blackrock, Co Dublin, who died in the hospital in May while undergoing an operation to remove an ectopic pregnancy.

An internal report by the hospital into her death left her husband Alan in a state of "shock and horror", Mr Reidy told coroner Myra Cullinane.

"We have a situation where once the problem was identified there was a delay in getting a consultant to the operating theatre," Mr Reidy told Dublin Coroner's Court.

He noted that there was external assistance from a vascular surgeon and an obstetrician.

The report said a nurse contacted another hospital to provide some vascular equipment during the emergency response to Ms Thawley.

It also said one doctor contacted another, saying "vascular and thoracic" instruments were "en route" from Hospital B.

Mr Reidy asked that the 18 doctors, nurses and other staff involved in Ms Thawley's case who gave statements to the report's inquiry team give evidence to the inquest.

Malak Thawley, who died in Holles Street Maternity Hospital last May
Malak Thawley, who died in Holles Street Maternity Hospital last May

The coroner said she would review all of the statements and decide who would make a deposition to the inquest.

The coroner's office has already requested eight statements, seven of which have been provided to the court to date.

The case was put back until January next year and a full hearing is due to take place in February.

Speaking after the hearing, Caoimhe Haughey, the family's solicitor, said it was a matter for the coroner what witnesses to call.

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

Read More: 'Why did my beautiful wife, my best friend, die?' asks grieving husband

But it was not recognised for several minutes and, even when the accident was discovered, it took another 15 minutes before she received emergency treatment.

Ms Thawley, a teacher originally from Syria, was seven weeks' pregnant with her first baby.

Consultant Pathologist Dr Thomas Crotty at St Vincent's Hospital carried out an autopsy and gave the cause of death as a tear in the abdominal aorta during the course of laparoscopic therapy due to an ectopic pregnancy in the right fallopian tube.

The Coroner, Dr Myra Cullinane, will review all of the 18 statements before finalising the list of those witnesses to give evidence at a full inquest hearing.

The final statement is due imminently, barrister for the hospital Dr Simon Mills said.

A full inquest hearing into the circumstances surrounding Ms Thawley's death will take place early next year.

Mr Thawley has previously spoken about the loss of his "beautiful wife, my best friend".

He said he is an "emotional mess".

"I am trying to find a way to put one foot in front of the other," he said.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News