Sellors private clients are calling for an independent enquiry after the heart-breaking death of their baby daughter six hours after her birth. Sonya Morrissy Murphy, Associate Solicitor, Litigation Manager and Medical Negligence Expert, represents the family.
Baby Eimear, fourth child to her loving parents, was born on 15th July 2010 and tragically survived only six hours and thirteen minutes. The births of her siblings had been uneventful. They were looking forward to a fourth child to complete their family and a sister for their third child to play with. Her death was a shock that reverberates daily.
Shane and Teresa came to me looking for answers. They only ever wanted an explanation. Due to the Irish legal system, all I could offer them was the possibility of legal proceedings and they, ultimately, brought proceedings against the H.S.E. arising out of the circumstances of their daughter’s delivery.
During the preparation of the cases, the circumstances of the clamping and cutting of baby Eimear’s umbilical cord came under the spotlight. It was maintained by us, on behalf of the family, and disputed by the H.S.E., that “having been lifted to untangle the cord, the clamping and cutting of the cord was mismanaged so that the clamp sprung open and there was a catastrophic blood loss leading to a collapse of the baby” in her mother’s arms, from which the paediatricians could not rescue the baby.
It was as simple as that.
Shane helplessly saw these events unfold not knowing the importance of what he was witnessing until afterwards. In this day and age, it was hardly credible that such a simple, yet catastrophic error, could occur.
We found and secured world renowned experts including Professor Peter Flemming and Mr Roger Clements. Professor Flemming believed that baby Eimear must have had an acute severe blood loss between delivery and her collapse. He noted that the events as described by Shane of the lifting of the baby in the manner described would have led to a substantial transfusion of blood from baby to placenta. He found that if the court did not accept Shane’s recollection then it is unclear when the acute blood loss occurred. Mr Clements found that if Shane’s evidence was accepted then it was the defective cord clamping that caused baby Eimear’s demise.
Whilst the H.S.E. maintained a full defence of all claims, we were confident that the defendant’s experts did not disprove our case.
We were approached 11 days before hearing to seek to settle the claims at which point all our experts were lined up to travel and the cases were fully ready to be tried. Indeed, our clients had prepared themselves for full hearings of all claims.
A settlement was reached without an admission of liability.
The sum of €98,000 plus costs in each case was ruled by the High Court and the judge took great care to sympathise with the family. While the H.S.E. did not admit liability, they did submit a letter to the family expressing regret.
Whilst Teresa and Shane were somewhat comforted by the expert opinions that we were able to procure, they merely wanted an enquiry, analysis and honest evaluation of what caused them to lose their beautiful baby. A mandatory independent inquiry in cases such as this surely arises and would avoid protracted litigation.
My clients are now seeking an independent inquiry into their daughter’s untimely death and are approaching the Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD to review the case.
For further information view the Limerick Leader article here.
Sonya Morrissy Murphy
Sonya Morrissy Murphy is an Associate Solicitor, Litigation Manager and Medical Negligence Expert at Keating Connolly Sellors. If you or a loved one has been affected by action or inaction of a medical professional(s), contact Sonya for expert advice at [email protected] or call 061 414355.