Consultant ‘did not mean to offend’ Dhara Kivlehan's husband

Nurse denies telling Michael Kivlehan to ‘stop eavesdropping’ on doctors

 Dhara Kivlehan: died in 2010,  days after giving birth, from multi-organ failure in Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital having  suffered a severe strain of pre-eclampsia. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Dhara Kivlehan: died in 2010, days after giving birth, from multi-organ failure in Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital having suffered a severe strain of pre-eclampsia. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

A consultant who had an angry exchange with Dhara Kivlehan’s husband at Sligo Regional Hospital told an inquest that he was sorry if he had insulted him.

Consultant anaesthetist Dr Seamus Crowley said he did not mean to offend Michael Kivlehan whose wife died in 2010 after being diagnosed with acute kidney failure at the hospital.

Dr Crowley admitted that Mr Kivlehan had told him he was patronising when they were discussing the need to move Ms Kivlehan to intensive care. Dr Crowley acknowledged that he had asked Mr Kivlehan whether he was a nurse or a paramedic.

Medical terminology

The consultant said he had told Mr Kivlehan that because his wife was of Indian origin, her dark complexion would make jaundice “more difficult to appreciate”. But he stressed that he had reassured Mr Kivlehan that blood test results were available and were what he would base his clinical assessment on. “Jaundice is just a clinical sign. It is not a disease,” he said.

Ms Kivlehan (29) died in Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital on September 28th, 2010, four days after being airlifted from Sligo hospital where she had given birth to her first baby.

Dr Crowley told the Coroner’s Court in Carrick-on-Shannon that Mr Kivlehan had made frequent references to not trusting doctors.

Under cross-examination he said he was unnerved by his conversation with Mr Kivlehan. He said that of course Mr Kivlehan was anxious and frustrated. “I certainly did not mean to offend him,” he said.

Close contact

Asked whether he agreed that Ms Kivlehan was in acute renal failure on January 22nd, the day after her baby was born, Dr Crowley said, in his opinion, “she had ongoing acute renal injury”.

Pressed on why she had not seen a renal consultant until September 24th, the day of her transfer to Belfast, he said she was under Dr Raouf Sallam, her obstetrician, even after she was transferred to ICU.

A nurse who cared for Ms Kivlehan in the Sligo ICU told the inquest that she did not tell Mr Kivlehan to “stop eavesdropping” on doctors .

Denying that she said this, ICU nurse Siobhán Surlis said: “No, I would never use those words.” Asked whether she told Mr Kivlehan if he wanted to make himself useful he should go downstairs and get his wife a drink, she said: “I might have asked him to go to the shop.” The inquest has been adjourned to Monday when expert witness Dr Peter Boylan will give testimony.