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Thursday 14 November 2019

Doctor sued over failed sterilisation after death of baby

Tim Healy

A WOMAN whose baby died at five months is suing a doctor after a failed sterilisation procedure.

Karen Hurley-Ahern (39) was shocked to find herself pregnant because she had a blood clotting disorder, and had decided not to have any more children because of risks to both herself and her child.

The High Court was told of five months of trauma and upset as their third child, Samuel, was born with severe abnormalities.

He fought to survive but died as a result of complications from open-heart surgery.

Ms Hurley-Ahern and her husband Garret Ahern are suing consultant gynaecologist Victor Moore, who carried out a sterilisation procedure in Tralee General Hospital in Kerry in 2001, and the Southern Health Board (now the HSE).

They are seeking damages alleging a number of failures, including negligence in how the operation was performed.

The defendants deny the claims and say the couple were warned of the risk of failure.

Ms Hurley-Ahern of Assumpta Park, Newcastle West, Limerick, told the court she had a rare disorder called a Factor V (5) Leiden mutation. This condition causes thrombosis, particularly during pregnancy.


Following a miscarriage and two difficult pregnancies with healthy children, the couple were advised by doctors that another pregnancy would be extremely harmful to her health.

She was also advised her condition meant there was a greatly increased risk that another child would suffer from severe deformities and disabilities.

They agreed she should get sterilised and a tubal ligation procedure was carried out in February 2001. It was claimed that clips were not applied to her fallopian tubes correctly, and that the tubes should instead have been cauterised.

The couple said they were not advised the procedure ran the risk of failure or that additional precautions should be taken to avoid pregnancy.

Around 13 months later, she discovered she was pregnant. "I was in total shock, I could not believe it."

When their son Samuel was born, he had to remain in hospital for all five months of his life as doctors tried to save him.

Ms Hurley-Ahern said they were asked in March 2003 by doctors would they turn off the machine keeping him alive.

"We still could not turn off the machine but it got really bad and he was fighting for every breath and I then said to the doctor, we are ready," Ms Hurley-Ahern said.

He died 33 minutes later.

The hearing continues before Mr Justice Sean Ryan.

Irish Independent

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