Judge Awards Compensation for Medical Negligence after Caesarean

A woman has been awarded compensation for medical negligence after a Caesarean operation which she claims resulted in a near-death experience.

Honey Larkin from Letterkenny in County Donegal, brought her action against consultant gynaecologist Eddie Aboud and the Health Service Executive (HSE) following the events after the birth of her child by Caesarean section at the Letterkenny General Hospital in January 2008.

Forty-year-old Honey claimed that, after her operation, she began to haemorrhage internally and her signs of distress were overlooked by the hospital´s staff. Honey alleges that she had a near-death experience due to losing more than half of her blood volume while haemorrhaging and because a second operation to stop the bleeding was delayed for more than an hour when her condition was acknowledged.

Claiming that she suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to medical negligence, Honey also stated in her action that neither the staff at the hospital nor her gynaecologist checked for signs of bleeding after the initial surgery, and that – when the cause of her distress was identified – there was a failure to attach due significance to the bleeding or act appropriately within a reasonable timeframe.

Both Mr Aboud and the HSE contested Honey´s claim for compensation for medical negligence after a Caesarean birth; arguing that she was treated appropriately throughout and after the birth of her child and in a timely manner once her internal bleeding had been recognised. However, Honey persisted with her compensation claim for medical negligence after a Caesarean, and the case was heard before Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court.

In the High Court hearing, Judge Cross was told that no internal bleeding had been apparent when Mr Aboud had finished the childbirth procedure; but, when the gynaecologist was called back to attend to Honey, he performed the operation quickly and successfully to stop the haemorrhaging. Judge Cross said he believed that Mr Aboud could not be held responsible for any of the trauma suffered by Honey and dismissed from the case.

After considering the evidence in relation to the delay Honey experienced once the haemorrhaging had been identified, he found that the Letterkenny General Hospital failed in their duty of care towards Honey, and ordered that the HSE pay her €25,000 compensation for medical negligence after her Caesarean operation.