The family of a woman who fell twice while recovering from surgery and later died has settled a High Court action against St Vincent's University Hospital in Dublin.

Anne Walsh, a 60-year-old grandmother and mother-of-six, had been recovering from cancer surgery when she fell in the hospital on 22 December, 2015, the court heard.

Barrister Doireann O'Mahony said Ms Walsh rapidly deteriorated after a second fall the following day and was transferred to intensive care in the hospital on Christmas Eve 2015.

Ms O'Mahony said the family were heartbroken that Ms Walsh had spent her last Christmas critically ill in ICU. She said the family had not had a Christmas since.

A haematoma was diagnosed after the second fall but the family claimed there had been a delay in responding to it and arranging for it to be investigated. Ms Walsh died on 7 January, 2016.

The family also claimed there was a failure to put safeguards in place to prevent falls. The family's claims were denied and today's confidential settlement was reached after mediation and without an admission of liability.

Outside court, Ms Walsh's son, Stephen said the family had struggled to come to terms with the circumstances of their mother's death. He said the legal case started four years ago and it had been a long and difficult struggle.

Although the hospital had not admitted liability, he said the reports they had received from experts meant they now understood what had happened during the last days of their mother's life. He said the family would remember their dear mother, partner, grandmother and sister at Christmas and she would be forever loved and cherished.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Paul Coffey extended his sympathy to Ms Walsh's family.