HSE apologises to family of woman who died after giving birth at Sligo General Hospital

Tuesday 03 December 2013 23.50
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The High Court heard Dhara Kivlehan did not receive the appropriate specialist medical treatment
The High Court heard Dhara Kivlehan did not receive the appropriate specialist medical treatment
An undisclosed sum was also agreed in an action taken by Ms Kivlehan's husband, Michael
An undisclosed sum was also agreed in an action taken by Ms Kivlehan's husband, Michael

The Health Service Executive has apologised to the family of a 29-year-old woman who died after giving birth at Sligo General Hospital three years ago.

Dhara Kivlehan died after developing pre-eclampsia and a related condition in 2010.

The High Court heard she did not receive the appropriate specialist medical treatment while in multi-organ failure at Sligo General Hospital. 

She had to be airlifted to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, where she died a number of days later.

This morning a High Court judge again criticised the delay by the HSE in admitting liability. 

Judge Mary Irvine said it was the third case in a week where the HSE had held out until almost the bitter end, causing great distress to a family.

Judge Irvine approved a settlement of the action for €790,000.

An undisclosed sum has also been agreed in an action taken by Ms Kivlehan's husband, Michael.

It is understood it is a substantial six-figure sum.

The court was told Ms Kivlehan had moved from India to London in 2002 to study fashion and textile design.

She met her husband Michael and they married in 2005. The couple moved back to Ireland and were expecting their first child in September 2010.

She was admitted to hospital two weeks overdue.

Blood tests taken at the time which showed grossly abnormal liver and kidney function were not followed up by doctors and not reported by the lab.

After giving birth to her son, Dior, she was treated in a side room for a day-and-a-half when she should have been in intensive care.

Midwives later tracked down blood test results and she was admitted to the ICU in Sligo, but her condition deteriorated and she was airlifted to Belfast where she later died.

Outside the High Court this morning, her husband said there remained many unanswered questions and he repeated calls for an inquest to be held in the Republic.

He said they were "heartbroken that our calls for an inquest here had been declined".

He added: "Dhara's memory deserves an inquest and it is an ongoing breach of our family's human rights for our calls for justice to remain unheeded."

His solicitor Damien Tansey said the authorities had refused to hold an inquest in the Republic.

While an inquest will now be held in Northern Ireland, witnesses could not be compelled to attend.

The family plans to take further legal action challenging the refusal of the Irish authorities to hold an inquest.