Medical Negligence News

Compensation Claim Settled for Pre-Eclampsia Victim’s Family

Posted on: December 9th, 2013 by Medical Negligence

The compensation claim of the family of a woman who wrongfully died following hospital negligence in the treatment of her pre-eclampsia has been settled at Dublin’s High Court.

When Dhara Kivlehan, aged twenty-nine, was admitted to Sligo General Hospital on the 20th September 2010, she was two weeks past the due date of her first child. When Mrs Kivlehan was admitted, she had oedema (fluid retention) around her lower legs, high blood pressure, and abnormal levels of protein in her urine – all symptoms of pre-eclampsia.

Mrs Kivlehan had tests done on her blood which revealed that she had abnormal liver and kidney functions, both indicators of the aforementioned condition. However, these test results were not given to the doctors treating her for twelve hours after the results came back. The next morning, Mrs Kivlehan gave birth to a son, Dior, and was transferred to a side room.

The new mother spent thirty-six hours in the room, during which time her condition deteriorated significantly. She was then transferred to the Intensive Care Unit at the Sligo General Hospital at quarter to five in the evening, but by eleven that night, Mrs Kivlehan’s condition got worse. She was air-lifted to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, but four days later she died from multiple organ failure.

Mrs Kivlehan’s husband, Michael – from Dromahair in Co. Sligo – made a claim for compensation against the hospital, claiming that the treatment that his wife did receive was inadequate and that the breakdown of communications lead to the failure to treat his wife’s condition. Sligo General denied these accusations, and the case proceeded to the High Court in Dublin.

However, just before the claim was to be heard in court, the Health Services Executive conceded liability for the substandard care the Mrs Kivlehan received at the hospital. The parties negotiated a compensation settlement of €800,000, though Mr Kivlehan insisted that an apology be read in court.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine oversaw the case at the courts, and heard of Mrs Kivlehan’s wrongful death. The HSE’s apology was then read aloud to the family. Before the hearing terminated, Judge Irvine criticised the HSE for “holding out until almost the bitter end” in admitting liability, which caused the family affected great distress.