€1.25m Wrongful Death Compensation Awarded to Man Whose Wife Died Days After Giving Birth

At the HIgh Court a €1.25m settlement has been agreed for a man whose 38-year-old wife died just days after giving birth to her first baby.

Anne Casey passed away at Cork University Maternity Hospital just 11 days after suffering cardiac arrest during a lung scan. Mrs Casey, who had a previously experienced cardiac complications was over 37 weeks pregnant at the time of the cardiac arrest. She had attended hospital to have a marked cough, that had caused her to become breathless during the previous three weeks, reviewed by medical staff. The decision was taken to admit her that Friday but there was no consultant available to tend to her during the subsequent weekend.

Mr Casey’s counsel Dr John O’Mahony SC informed the Judge that Mrs Casey was treated for a respiratory infection and no other action was taken when it appeared that this was not addressing the issue. He said that she (Mrs Casey) went into cardiac arrest during the  lung scan and a team of up to 12 doctors were required for the attempts to save her and deliver her baby, he said. Additionally Mr O’Mahony informed the Court that Mrs Casey had been diagnosed with insulin-requiring diabetes and was also overweight.

The baby was delivered through emergency caesarean section on the X-ray table. Initially Mrs Casey regained a pulse and was taken to the ICU for further treatment and observation. Sadly it was discovered that she had sustained a devastating brain injury and the situation didn’t not alleviate over the following nine days.

A decision was taken to remove life support on March 7, 2012 and she died just two days later.

An inquest at the hospital in relation to Mrs Casey’s death resulted in a recommendation that all individuals  with complex medical conditions and new symptoms must be seen to by by a consultant in less 24 hours following their admission.

Mrs Casey’s now 49-year-old husband Dominic Casey – with an address at Lettergorman, Dunmanway, Co Cork – had taken the wrongful death legal action against the Health Service Executive (HSE) in relation to the circumstances surrounding his wife’s death on March 9, 2012. The claims include in the legal action said that there was a failure to properly assess, diagnose and treat Mrs Casey when she presented in the emergency department with breathlessness and that it had been mistakenly assumed she was suffering from a respiratory infection.

The HSE refuted all of the claims were denied and a submitted a full defence to the case.

As he was giving hi sapproval for the compensation settlement, presiding Judge Justice Cross offered his sympathies to the Casey family.

Speaking during the hearing Mr Casey detailed how he had been outside the X-ray department at the time his wife went into cardiac arrest. He said: “I saw the chaos. I felt numb and stunned. I thought my wife and baby son were both gone.”



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