The High Court has approved an undisclosed settlement for the family of a woman who died after falling out of bed while breastfeeding her newborn baby, who also died in the incident.

Marie Downey broke her neck in the fall at Cork University Maternity Hospital in March 2019.

Her newborn baby Darragh died of suffocation, after being found underneath his mother.

Kieran Downey of Knockanevin, Kilmallock, Co Limerick sued the HSE over the deaths of his wife and son.

The High Court heard today that this was a "monumentally sad", "heart breaking" and "life changing" case.

It heard that Mrs Downey, a 36-year-old mother with two young sons, aged five and two and-a-half at the time, went to Cork University Maternity Hospital to have her third baby.

Dr John O'Mahony, SC for the Downey family, told the court that Mrs Downey was known to be epileptic and lost up to half of the volume of her circulating blood during this birth.

He said that Marie Downey had a seizure in the aftermath of her second birth, while there was also an episode attributable to epilepsy in her 2014 pregnancy.

He said after giving birth to baby Darragh, Mrs Downey was kept in ICU that night before being moved to a private room.

On 25 March 2019, three days after giving birth, Mrs Downey was found dead on the floor of the room and her baby was underneath her.

Dr O’Mahony SC told the High Court that Mrs Downey had fallen from her bed while breastfeeding.

She suffered a broken neck and baby Darragh died the next day after suffering an irreversible brain injury while being trapped under his mother.

It was alleged that Marie and Darragh had died due to negligence in the care provided to them at CUMH.

This alleged negligence included allowing Mrs Downey to be unobserved in a single room, self-medicating for her epilepsy, with no integrated plan, or support while breastfeeding.

The HSE has admitted negligence and breach of duty in this case.

Apologies from Cork University Maternity Hospital to Mrs Downey’s husband Kieran, her two sons and her parents were read to the court today.

CUMH apologised "unreservedly" for the events that occurred while Marie and Darragh were under its care, which resulted in the tragic loss of their lives.

"We cannot possibly comprehend the devastating impact these losses have had," the apology read.

It said it is "truly sorry" and expressed "deepest sympathies and regret".

Mr Justice Paul Coffey said this was a "profoundly sad case". He said he was satisfied with the sum of money secured and had no hesitation in approving the settlement.

He said this was an "extraordinary tragedy" and he extended his deepest sympathy to the family of Mrs Downey.