The family of a 43-year-old mother of 10 who died during a surgical procedure at Mercy University Hospital, Cork have settled their High Court action for €725,000.
The settlement was made without admission of liability.
Sameera’s Barwari’s husband and 19-year old daughter looked on in the treatment room of the Cork Hospital as medics tried for more than an hour to resuscitate her.
At the High Court on Thursday, the hospital expressed “sincere regret” at Mrs Barwari’s death.
In a letter read to the court, the hospital offered “deepest condolences” to her husband, their daughter and the wider Barwari family.
“We appreciate your great loss and fully acknowledge the distress and sadness suffered by you and your family as a result of Sameera’s passing,” the letter stated.
Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told the settlement was made without an admission of liability.
Sameera Barwari was a Kurdish person from Iraq but lived in the west of Ireland at the time of her death. Her youngest child is now aged 15 and she was also a grandmother of four when she died.
Dr John O’Mahony SC, for the family, said Mrs Barwari died on the operating table during an elective procedure in relation to her lungs.
Her husband and daughter saw her go into cardiac arrest and the attempts to resuscitate her, he said. They found this very distressing.
After an hour of trying to resuscitate her, Mrs Barwari died. She did not understand English and this was an issue in the case in relation to consent, he said.
Liability was very much at issue in the case, counsel said.
Hagi Taha Barwari (54) and his daughter Rowshan Hagi Taha Barwari, both of Renmore, Co Galway had sued Mercy University Hospital Cork Ltd as a result of Mrs Barwari’s death during an embolisation procedure in 2011.
Mrs Barwari had a chest scan in 2010 which showed up at least six large pulmonary arterio venous malformations which affect the blood flow. She was admitted to the hospital on January 13th, 2011 for the embolisation therapy which would involve closing off the feeding arteries to the malformations.
It was claimed there was failure or neglect to specifically recheck, record and interpret the patient’s blood pressure on her arrival in the operative suite and cancel the non- emergency surgery until her blood pressure had been brought under control.
It was further claimed there was failure to identify the risks and to correctly evaluate the woman’s presenting medical condition and her medical history. Two separate drugs were used for sedation when, it was claimed, appropriate and best practice holds that in general only one sedative drug would be necessary for most patients .
It was also claimed there was failure to gain an informed consent from the woman when she was being admitted for the procedure. It was claimed the hospital provided an interpreter for her who did not speak her dialect.
The embolisation procedure was started the next morning, January 14th, 2011, and Mrs Barwari was allegedly brought unaccompanied to the treatment area.
It was alleged no interpreter was called or present when the procedure commenced and she was stressed and agitated.
Mrs Barwari, it is claimed, indicated she was experiencing chest pain after the first part of the procedure and on the second embolisation became very distressed and agitated. Her daughter was called into the treatment area along with her husband to assist in the communication and a sedative was administered to Mrs Barwari. She stopped breathing during the fourth embolisation.
An inquest held later into Mrs Barwari’s death recorded a verdict of medical misadventure.
The claims were denied and the hospital contended the procedure had been explained in detail to Mrs Barwari. It also said she had signed a consent form read to her beforehand and the interpreter had translated.
Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Cross offered sympathy to the family and said he was sure the expression of regret from the hospital was of some comfort to them.