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HSE apologises for death of mother and child after birth

THE HSE has apologised over the death of a garda sergeant who died after giving birth to twins in a hospital.

Yesterday, Tania McCabe's widower, Aidan McCabe (41), who is also a garda sergeant, settled his High Court action for damages for mental distress, shock, loss and damages over the death of his wife and of one of the twins, Zach.

The proceedings were against the HSE and Dr Shane Higgins, a consultant obstetrician/gynaecologist at the hospital, over the deaths at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, Co Louth, in March 2007.

Sgt McCabe died at the hospital on March 8, 2007, following an emergency caesarean section.

One of her prematurely born twin sons, Zach, died in her arms while his twin, Adam, who is now four, survived the ordeal.

Counsel for the HSE told the court it expressed sincere regret over the loss to the family of the mother and child.

The court heard the defendants had admitted negligence and the case.

Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill was told the case had been settled on terms which included that the surviving twin Adam and the couple's other child, Ben (6), are to receive €105,000 and €101,000 respectively. No other terms were revealed.


The court heard Sgt McCabe had qualified as an accountant before becoming a garda and would have reached the rank of superintendent had she lived.

Sgt McCabe's parents and husband were visibly upset as the details of her death were recalled. The court heard she was admitted to hospital on March 6, 2007, after her waters broke three months before her due date.

She was discharged the following day, only to be readmitted the next day in labour. The twins were delivered by caesarean section but one of the twins had severe congenital abnormalities and died in her arms a short time after his birth.

Sgt McCabe later suffered a post-partum haemorrhage and had to have emergency surgery but did not survive.

Mr McCabe claimed there was a failure to properly diagnose that her waters had broken and that she was wrongfully discharged. It was also claimed there was a failure to diagnose that she was in septic shock.

Coroner Ronan Maguire called the case "one of the most appalling tragedies I have ever come across as coroner".

Irish Independent