€2.35m award for family of woman who died after birth


THE HIGH Court has approved an award of €2.35 million damages to the family of a 35-year-old woman who died shortly after giving birth at a Dublin maternity hospital.

It was alleged that the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, was negligent in the case of Tazeem Kenefick on grounds including allegedly persisting with trying to achieve vaginal delivery when there was an infection and not acting quickly enough to deal with blood loss during subsequent surgery to address an abnormally deep placement of the placenta.

Ms Kenefick, a dentist, died following complications which occurred during and shortly after she gave birth to her second child at the hospital on November 28th, 2004.

Her husband, Kevin Kenefick, also a dental surgeon, Putland Road, Bray, Co Wicklow, had brought proceedings alleging negligence and breach of duty against the hospital and Stephen Carroll, a consultant obstetrician at the hospital.

The hospital admitted liability and the action against Dr Carroll was discontinued and was struck out.

The case was before the court for assessment of damages and, following discussions between the parties, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill was told yesterday by Dermot Gleeson SC, for Mr Kenefick, that the issues had been resolved and a total award of €2.35 million, plus costs, was to be paid to the family of the late Ms Kenefick.

The judge said he was “quite satisfied” to approve the award.

The court heard Ms Kenefick was the mother of two children and stepmother to Mr Kenefick’s two children from a previous relationship.

Mr Kenefick was present during her labour at the hospital and was outside the theatre door during the operative surgery, the court heard.

It was claimed Ms Kenefick gave birth to a daughter, Ella, delivered by Caesarean section, in 2002.

She became pregnant again in 2004 and was due to give birth in January 2005.

On November 27th, 2004, a spontaneous rupture of the membrane occurred and Ms Kenefick was admitted to the hospital where she went into labour on November 28th.

A decision was made during the course of her pregnancy to aim at vaginal delivery and that decision was persisted with.

Ms Kenefick gave birth to a son, Louis, who was delivered by forceps. The placenta was retained and she was taken to an operating theatre for its manual removal.

Complications arose when it was discovered she had placenta accreta, a severe obstetric complication involving an abnormally deep attachment of the placenta which can cause severe bleeding. Surgery was performed but she bled very heavily and died on the operating table.

It was claimed the hospital was negligent in that it failed to care for Ms Kenefick properly and failed to have proper regard for her medical history in that her first child was delivered by emergency Caesarean due to her failure to progress the labour.

In November 2004, the hospital should have carried out an emergency Caesarean given the warning signs that were present, it was claimed.

It was also claimed that the hospital was negligent in carrying out a vaginal delivery despite the fact her labour had failed to progress, her temperature had risen and antibiotics had not combated the infection she had developed.

It was further claimed the hospital was negligent in its failure to bring her to theatre for emergency surgery immediately after the baby was born.