Mayo General Hospital admitted liability in relation to the death of 38-year-old woman who died hours after giving birth to her second child. The admission of liability gave rise to a settlement ruled by the High Court in the amount of €850,000 plus legal costs to the family of the deceased woman. The sum includes payments for two children and the maximum €25,395 payable for mental distress. The deceased woman, Evelyn Flanagan, was employed as an acting senior staff officer at the time of her death.
The fatal injury proceedings were issued against the HSE and a consultant obstetrician, Dr. Murtada Mohamed, alleging medical negligence in that the care given to the deceased woman at Mayo General Hospital was substandard and led to her death. It was alleged she suffered a post-partum haemorrhage as a result of a rupture of the uterus that was not detected or adequately dealt with. Although an initial post-mortem suggested Mrs Flanagan's death was the direct result of an amniotic fluid embolism (AFE), a rare obstetric emergency, the family claimed the sudden deterioration in her condition could be attributed to postpartum haemorrhage.
The settlement arose following a mediation of the fatal injury action during which the hospital admitted liability. The settlement is to be paid by the HSE with the case against Dr. Mohamed struck out.
At inquest proceedings in 2008 and 2009, it was argued on behalf of the family that Mrs. Flanagan's death could have been avoided. The jury at the inquest returned a verdict of death by medical misadventure.
The family of Mrs. Flanagan was entitled to bring the proceedings alleging medical negligence causing her death under Part IV of the Civil Liability Act 1961 which is the principal relevant legislation for fatal injury claims. This legislation allows for an action to be brought and a claim to be made for financial loss, funeral expenses and mental distress on behalf of all the dependants as a result of the deceased’s death.
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