Man calls for independent investigation into partner’s death

Karen McEvoy (24) died a week after giving birth at Coombe hospital

A Co Kildare man is calling for an "independent investigation" into the death of his partner on Christmas Day, one week after she gave birth at Dublin's Coombe hospital.

Karen McEvoy (24), originally from Tallaght, had a baby girl on Tuesday, December 18th and was discharged the next day. She and Barry Kelly (26) had two sons already, aged one and three.

By Thursday morning she was complaining of severe back and abdominal pain, exhaustion, flu-like symptoms and sweating.

Mr Kelly said he was told by a number of medical staff at Naas General Hospital where she died, and by Ms McEvoy herself in the hours before she died, it appeared she had contracted sepsis.


A month after her death, however, he has not been told her cause of death.

He said when she woke on Christmas morning, her arms, legs and face were swollen. She was slurring her words and found breathing difficult. She was taken by ambulance to Naas General Hospital.

Mr Kelly said staff there advised him her symptoms indicated sepsis. Their plan was to sedate and intubate her to assist her breathing.

During attempts to intubate her, however, she went into cardiac arrest. She died on Christmas afternoon.

Niamh O’Brien of O’Brien Murphy solicitors, said Mr Kelly was “demanding an immediate independent investigation into the events that led to the tragic death of Karen”.

A Health Service Executive spokeswoman said: “The HSE cannot comment on individual cases. Maintaining a patient’s confidentiality is not only an ethical requirement for the HSE and all HSE funded hospitals; it is also a legal requirement”.

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times