A settlement of compensation has been offered to bereaved parents by the HSE for the death of their newborn daughter, without offering an admission of liability.
A baby girl was born on the 15th July 2010 at the Limerick Regional Maternity Hospital. She was her parents’ fourth child, but their joy was tragically short-lived. Just six hours later, their baby had died due to severe blood loss.
The couple–who have wished to remain anonymous-were originally from Ballyneety in Co. Limerick. They claim that their baby had been born fit and healthy, but had died as a direct consequence of medical negligence and mismanagement of the situation. They state that, if their baby’s rapid blood loss had been noticed in time by hospital staff, their baby would have had much better chances of survival. The blood loss was later deemed to be due to the cutting of the umbilical cord.
The couple consulted a medical negligence solicitor and subsequently made a claim for compensation against the Health Service Executives (HSE). In the claim, they allege that the manner in which their daughter’s umbilical cord was cut was unsafe. They claim that when she was raised above the placenta so that the baby could be untangled from the afterbirth, the staff did not adequately clamp the cord. This lead to an extreme and rapid loss of blood.
The Health Service Executive, however, presented an alternate version of events and denied that they were liable for the newborn’s death. However, without admitting liability, an offer of €98,000 in compensation was made to the couple. The HSE said that this was to compensate for the extreme shock and trauma they suffered after losing their baby.
Before the settlement could be awarded it first had to be approved by a judge. The case was by Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the Dublin High Court. The judge heard the disputed evidence that the HSE was responsible for the baby’s death due to mismanagement of her birth. He was told that, after she had been raised and the cord cut, she became listless and floppy, dying just six hours later.
After representatives from the HSE read a statement of regret, Judge Cross approved the compensation settlement. He proceeded to add his offer his sympathies to the bereaved couple.