HSE to pay €800,000 to family of woman who died after birth

Ms Justice Mary Irvine hits out at HSE again for delay in admitting fault

Tue, Dec 3, 2013, 13:21

The HSE has agreed to pay almost €800,000 and has unreservedly apologised before the High Court to the family of a 29-year-old woman who became seriously ill when in Sligo General Hospital for delivery of her first child and died eight days later.

“The HSE confirms that lessons have been learned from the tragic outcome in Dhara Kivlehan’s case,” it also said.

The payment and apology are part of the settlement of an action brought by the family of Ms Kivhelan, nee Sandhu, a native of India, who died on September 28th 2010. The HSE admitted liability in the matter last week.

The settlement was ruled today by Ms Justice Mary Irvine who said this was the third case before her within the last two weeks where a defendant had “held out almost to the bitter end” before admitting liability. This was “very regrettable” and caused enormous distress to a family, she said.

She expressed sympathy to Ms Kivlehan’s husband, Michael, and his parents, who are helping him rear the couple’s child, who were all in court.

Earlier, Adrienne Egan SC, for the HSE, said it unreservedly apologised for the shortcomings in relation to the management and care of Ms Kivlehan at Sligo General Hospital and wished to express its sincere condolences to Mr Kivlehan, his family and his wife’s family in India.

Ms Kivlehan is survived by her husband and son Dior, now aged three, and her parents and three siblings in India. The couple met in London, where Ms Kivlehan had come to in 2002 to study fashion design and textiles. They married in 2005 and came to live in Ireland.

Outside court, Mr Kivlehan thanked his lawyers Callan Tansey for their work in achieving the settlement but added: “Our battle for justice must continue: three years on from Dhara’s death, we still await an inquest.

The family were heartbroken their calls for an inquest here have, to date, been declined as “many unanswered questions need to be addressed”, he said.

“Dhar’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.”

Ms Kivlehan was admitted to Sligo General Hospital on September 20th, 2010 for the delivery of her first child, Dior. She was two weeks past her due date, her counsel Des O’Neill SC said, and when admitted was showing signs consistent with pre-eclampsia.

It was claimed, when admitted, she presented with a history of painless contractions for two days and, on examination, had evidence of oedema of the lower limbs and slightly elevated blood pressure.

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