Sligo woman died after giving birth

Inquest to be held into death of mother at Sligo General Hospital

Kevin Kivlehan with his wife Dhara Kivlehan. Earlier this month in the High Court, the HSE agreed to pay almost €800,000 damages and unreservedly apologised to the family of Ms Kivlehan who  died shortly after her baby son was born in Sligo General Hospital.

Kevin Kivlehan with his wife Dhara Kivlehan. Earlier this month in the High Court, the HSE agreed to pay almost €800,000 damages and unreservedly apologised to the family of Ms Kivlehan who died shortly after her baby son was born in Sligo General Hospital.

Wed, Dec 18, 2013, 01:00

Details have emerged of the death of another young woman after giving birth at Sligo General Hospital.

Sally Rowlette (36) of Dromore West, Co Sligo died on February 5th after giving birth to her fourth child at the hospital. Her family say they need to know why she died.

The postmortem report says her death was due to haemorrhagic infarction with cerebral oedema due to HELLP syndrome and pre-eclampsia.

It is the second such tragedy to affect the hospital in less than three years .

Earlier this month in the High Court, the HSE agreed to pay almost €800,000 damages and unreservedly apologised to the family of 29-year-old Dhara Kivlehan who became seriously ill when in Sligo hospital for delivery of her first child in September 2010.

She died of multi-organ failure consequent on HELLP syndrome, described as a severe variation of pre-eclampsia, after being transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

Yesterday the Rowlette family solicitor Roger Murray from legal firm Callan Tansey received a letter from the office of Sligo coroner Dr Desmond Moran saying an inquest would be held although no date has yet been set.

The coroner’s office said yesterday that the inquest would take place in the new year . It is understood files have been requested by the coroner from Sligo General Hospital in relation to the case.

Mr Murray refused to comment on whether legal proceedings were likely to be taken against the HSE in relation to this case. He said his instructions had been to seek an inquest “and today I received a letter from the coroner confirming that there will be an inquest”.

According to Mr Murray, Sally Rowlette was admitted to the labour ward at the hospital at 1.45am on February 4th last when she was 39 weeks pregnant. He said her blood pressure was high, the baby’s heartbeat had dropped “to a dangerously low level” and Ms Rowlette was brought to theatre. Her baby, also called Sally, was delivered at 2.45am and then she was brought to the Intensive Care Unit.

By 7am Ms Rowlette, who has three older children Leanne (8), Abbie (6) and Joseph (3), was unresponsive. After a CT scan of her brain, assistance was sought from Beaumont Hospital and a transfer was being considered but, said Mr Murray, “Sally tragically deteriorated further’’. She died the following day.

A spokeswoman for the HSE said yesterday that for data protection reasons it was unable to discuss individual cases with a third party.

In a statement the HSE said patient safety was paramount for Sligo Regional Hospital “and we take all action necessary to ensure the safety and welfare of all pregnant women and all other patients attending the hospital”.


Patient safety
It added that patient safety and risk management procedures were in place and all adverse events were reviewed and appropriate action taken. “Clinical governance arrangements are well established within the Obstetric Service to ensure safe practices across this service.

“In addition, the hospital has implemented the maternity early warning scoring system to ensure the safe management of patients within the Unit”, the HSE added.

There were 1,608 babies born at the hospital last year, the HSE said.

Sean Rowlette was not available yesterday but a family member said that this was a very difficult time of year. In a statement to The Sligo Champion he said December 12th should have been Sally’s 37th birthday.

“She is no longer with us to celebrate Christmas and this is a very difficult time for all of us, especially our four young children”, he said.

Calling for an urgent inquest he said in the statement he wanted to know why his young wife had died and said the delay in having an inquest was adding to the family’s distress.

“We are extremely anxious to get answers to the questions which we have in relation to the circumstances of Sally’s death”, Mr Rowlette added.