Thursday 26 April 2018

Family's three-year wait for HSE apology over death of baby

Linda Kelly and Anthony Lanphier at the Four Courts
Linda Kelly and Anthony Lanphier at the Four Courts

Tim Healy

The HSE has apologised to the family of a five-day-old girl who died in hospital after a catheter put in to give her nutrition was placed at an incorrect low level.

However, the family of baby Faith Lanphier were left waiting for three years before the apology.

Faith was born premature and in good condition on May 19, 2012, but died at Cork University Maternity Hospital five days later.

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.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross said it was a "sad, tragic and unnecessary death". Approving the settlement of the action of Faith's parents, he extended his deepest sympathy.

Cork University Maternity Hospital (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."

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.

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, while 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 beloved baby and looked for answers, only to be met with denial after denial through an inquest and 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.

Irish Independent

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