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Grieving family get €690k over death of mum

THE family of a young mother who died just over seven months after she had a heart attack while giving birth in hospital has settled a damages action for €690,000.

Mum-of-two Jennifer Crean (35) slipped into a coma following the heart attack as her second child was delivered by caesarean section at the National Maternity Hospital, Dublin, in July 2008.


Yesterday in the High Court, Mr Justice Iarflaith O'Neill approved a settlement of €690,000 for Mrs Crean's husband Francis and sons Adam (11) and Daniel (4) arising out of her death.

Adam Crean, who was seven at the time of his mother's hospitalisation and death, also settled his action for damages for nervous shock for €40,000.

Francis Crean of Rosanna Close, Ashford, Co Wicklow, had sued the NMH and the case was before the court for assessment of damages only.

Jennifer was diabetic and, it was claimed, she was on a long- term intravenous insulin infusion via a Hickman line.

During the pregnancy the line became regularly infected and had to be changed.

On June 30, 2008, when she was 35 weeks pregnant, Mrs Crean was admitted to the NMH with severe abdominal pain and sweating. By the next day a diagnosis was made that the likely source of the sepsis was the Hickman line and she was prescribed antibiotics.

On July 2, it was deemed appropriate to perform an emergency caesarean section but after receiving a general anaesthetic, Mrs Crean had a severe cardiac arrest.

She was resuscitated and transferred to the Beaumont Hospital.

It was claimed she sustained a degree of brain damage but suffered a further cardiac arrest sustaining severe brain damage, which put her into a vegetative state from which she never recovered.

Mr Crean claimed the hospital failed to heed and act upon the serious risk of septicemia developing and of recurrent infection of the Hickman line. Given the complexity of Mrs Crean's pre-medical history, the hospital failed to have a multi-disciplinary case conference to include the decision when to remove the Hickman line.

It was further claimed the Hickman line was not removed.

It was alleged Mrs Crean's condition deteriorated requiring her to have an urgent caesarean section, the hospital induced a general anaesthetic when it was wholly inappropriate to do so causing a rapid onset of severe hypoxia which in turn resulted in cardiac arrest.

It was claimed Mr Crean was traumatised and suffered severe emotional upset at the events in the NMH and afterwards.

He was angry that the NMH appeared to ignore both himself and his wife's concerns about removing the Hickman line.

It was further claimed that Mr Crean had been grieving for a long time at the loss of his wife prior to her death. He had to deal with his son Adam who also found his mother's vegetative state extremely difficult and had to arrange for the infant Daniel to be looked after.

Mr Justice Iarflaith O'Neill said he had no hesitation in approving the settlement.