Tuesday 18 September 2018

'I must ensure I am the last person in Irish history to suffer like this' - Husband of Malak Thawley, who died at Holles Street

Husband of Malak Thawley, who died at Holles Street, says compensation can't replace her

Malak and Alan Thawley on their wedding day
Malak and Alan Thawley on their wedding day
Alan and Malak Thawley
Malak Kuzbary Thawley and her husband Alan

Tim Healy

The husband of Malak Thawley, who died during surgery for an ectopic pregnancy at the National Maternity Hospital, said no compensation could replace the "profound loss" of her "needless death".

Ms Thawley (34), a teacher and a US citizen, was expecting her first baby when she died at the Holles Street Hospital on May 8, 2016.

Yesterday at the High Court Mr Justice Anthony Barr was told the case against the maternity hospital was settled and could be struck out.

But counsel told the court last week what had happened was a "cascade of negligence" and "it was one negligent act after another".

Liam Reidy SC said the doctor who carried out the surgery was an inexperienced junior surgeon and not supervised.

Counsel said the ineptitude was illustrated by the fact that when they decided to cool Ms Thawley's brain, two doctors were sent across the road to a pub to get ice as there was none in the hospital.

Alan and Malak Thawley
Alan and Malak Thawley

Yesterday Mr Reidy said it had been settled for compensatory damages only and aggravated or exemplary damages were not involved.

No other details of the settlement were given to the court. Final orders will be made in the case next week.

Outside court, Alan Thawley said after a long and difficult process he had been able to bring these proceedings to a satisfactory conclusion.

"There is no compensation that could replace the profound loss of my wife's untimely and needless death.

Malak Kuzbary Thawley and her husband Alan
Malak Kuzbary Thawley and her husband Alan

"The proceedings were brought forth to expose the cascade of negligence demonstrated by the hospital. I will continue to work with the Health Minister [Simon Harris] and his ministerial inquiry to ensure I am the last person in Irish history who has to suffer what I have suffered and continue to suffer," he said.

The Thawleys had been profoundly happy and excited when his wife became pregnant. As a surprise gift her husband arranged a scan at six weeks.

At the scan, they were told to go to the NMH for advice about an ectopic pregnancy.

Mr Thawley said he had googled ectopic pregnancy and had seen it could be treated with certain medicine but, counsel said, he was told that because the foetal sac had a heartbeat the only option was a surgical intervention. The couple felt they should follow the advice.

Mr Thawley (31), of Brusna Cottages, Blackrock, Dublin, had sued the National Maternity Hospital over the death of his wife, claiming she suffered a cut to the surface of her aorta and there was complete mismanagement of the major vascular injury.

It was also claimed there was a failure to have vascular clamps available on site for emergencies and a failure to have a red phone installed in theatre for use in emergencies.

It was further claimed her life was unacceptably endangered during the operative procedure and her death occurred as a result of the injury inflicted upon her and the complete mismanagement of the injury afterwards.

Mr Thawley had also sued for nervous shock and claimed his whole life and happiness with his late wife, together with his plans and dreams for their future, had been annihilated.

Liability was not at issue in the case, which was for assessment of damages only.

The NMH apologised in court last week for the events which led to the death of Ms Thawley, who was originally from Dallas.

Eoin McCullough SC, for the hospital, extended deepest condolences to Mr Thawley and apologised for the events which led to her death.

When legal proceedings were issued in January last year, a letter admitting liability by the hospital was issued the next day along with an apology.

An internal inquiry was also set up, counsel said.

Irish Independent

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