Monday 19 March 2018

'She had a beautiful soul and now she's gone' - Husband calls for independent inquiry into pregnant wife's death

Malak Thawley pictured with her American husband Alan, who said in a letter read out by his solicitor yesterday that he had lost his ‘soul-mate’ when Malak died
Malak Thawley pictured with her American husband Alan, who said in a letter read out by his solicitor yesterday that he had lost his ‘soul-mate’ when Malak died

Kathy Armstrong

A heartbroken man whose pregnant wife died during surgery is calling for an independent inquiry into her death.

Malak Thawley was seven weeks pregnant with her first child when she found out it was ectopic.

The 34-year-old was due to have a simple procedure carried out on May 8 2016 at the National Maternity Hospital but after a major blood vessel was accidentally pierced during the keyhole surgery she suffered a fatal haemorrhage.

Speaking on RTE News at One today her widower Alan Thawley opened up about how hard life has been for him since her passing.

He said: "I'm here and I've been able to do some things in my life okay as I try to progress forward but it's been a struggle in a lot of other areas for me.
"The Coroner's Court in particular was difficult, there seemed to have been new information and previous inconsistencies.

"It created so many new emotions that are so deep I can hardly even untangle them, there's just a lot of anger, disappointment and outrage really."

Malak Thawley
Malak Thawley

A number of issues emerged in the Coroner's Court last month, such as that her abdomen should have been opened straight away to stop the bleeding and a blood transfusion carried out but this took 15 minutes.

A medical instrument had to be brought with a garda escort from another hospital and ice had to be sourced from a local pub for brain cooling.

Read More: Malak's death must not be in vain - there are lessons to learn

Mr Thawley said that an independent inquiry is needed to prevent this happening again.

Mr Thawley said: "The ectopic pregnancy was found through a private scan and she didn't have any symptoms and it wasn't an emergency at the time but she did need the surgery.

"Within seconds of the surgery commencing she was already bleeding to death...

"For me this is more complex, there's other statements made in the Coroner's Court, like they didn't know her blood type, which is a hospital policy.

"So when she was bleeding to death they didn't know her blood type and they didn't even have the type of blood to give her anyway."

Alan Thawley. Picture: RTE
Alan Thawley. Picture: RTE

He continued to say: "I really think the only way to find out the truth - and to improve the health system and for our maternity services - is to bring in an independent group of doctors, even external from the country.

"They need to come in and find every single thing that went wrong and come up with solutions for how to fix them."

He also paid tribute to Malak, a US citizen who worked as a teacher here.

Mr Thawley said: "She was a very special person, she had the biggest heart of anyone I had ever met, she provided me with this kind of support that was incredible.

"She had a beautiful soul, she was going to be the mother of my child and now she's gone, now I'm alone and I have to handle this alone."

Read More: 'I have not lived a single minute of my life since' - Husband of Malak Thawley responds as medical misadventure verdict returned

The National Maternity Hospital extended their sympathies  to Mr Thawley and apologised for the "shortcomings that led to Malak's death."

They said in a statement: "Our thoughts are very much with Mr Alan Thawley on this difficult day. 

"We acknowledge the terrible loss he has suffered and the pain and grief he has endured since the death of his wife while in our care.

"Once again we take the opportunity to unreservedly apologise for the shortcomings in our care that led to Malak’s death. 

"From the outset we have fully accepted our liability in this case. Mr Thawley has suffered a most devastating loss.

"We have conducted a robust internal review which began the day after Mrs Thawley’s death.  We know that nothing can bring Malak back. 

"However we are determined to continue to implement all that we have learned from this investigation in our clinical practice."

They added: "Our primary concern today is for the late Mrs Thawley's husband  and family.

"We would like to thank the coroner for the thorough manner in which she has conducted this inquest and we sincerely hope that the proceedings will have gone some way towards answering the questions the family of the late Mrs Thawley have."

Read More: 'Malak asked me to pray for her,' nurse reveals to inquest

Health Minister Simon Harris has said that he will "reflect seriously" on the request for an independent investigation.

He said that he never wants this to happen again and that he hopes the new national maternity hospital will be in the best interests of woman and their abbies here.

Speaking on RTE News at One, he said: "I would suggest that perhaps the inquest and the investigation in the hospital have indeed established what went wrong."

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