Staff statements sought for inquest into pregnant woman who died during surgery

Full inquest into death of Malak Thawley in Holles Street Hospital to begin in new year

Malak Thawley (35)died last May after a blood vessel was accidentally damaged during surgery for an ectopic pregnancy. Photograph: CM Haughey Solicitors

Lawyers for the family of a woman who died while undergoing surgery at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin are seeking access to statements made by all 18 medical staff who treated her.

The inquest into the death of Malak Thawley (35), who died last May after a blood vessel was accidentally damaged during surgery for an ectopic pregnancy, will take place early in the new year, a preliminary hearing was told on Monday.

Liam Reidy, SC for Ms Thawley’s family, said there were public interest issues in making available all of the 18 statements taken for a recently published internal investigation into her death.

Despite being a national maternity hospital, Holles Street did not appear to have access to vascular clamps, he said, and there were problems in communication.


He questioned whether the procedure carried out on Ms Thawley should have been performed in the presence of a more experienced member of staff.

Mr Reidy said there were also issues to do with the recognition of the injury that occurred and a delay in dealing with it.

Simon Mills, barrister, for the hospital, said it had provided seven statements from staff to the inquest and one further statement was due soon.

Dublin city coroner Dr Myra Cullinane said she would look at the 18 statements made to the Holles Street inquiry and decide how many of these staff would be asked to make formal depositions.

Staff at St James’s and the Mater hospitals who were contacted as part of the emergency response to save Ms Thawley’s life will also be contacted.

Ms Thawley’s husband Alan was not present for the proceedings as he is abroad. The couple moved to Ireland over three years ago.

The Holles Street report found there was a delay in spotting a tear of a main artery caused during surgery on Ms Thawley, as well as further delays in managing the problem and resuscitation.

Ms Thawley, who was living in Blackrock, Co Dublin died on May 8th, 2016. Her death was due to a tear in the abdominal aorta during the course of laparoscopic surgery for an ectopic pregnancy.

A teacher, originally from Syria, she was expecting her first baby. She was seven weeks pregnant when a scan identified an ectopic pregnancy.

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen is a former heath editor of The Irish Times.