A €1.5m hospital negligence settlement, incorporating expenses, has been approved for the family of Ms Natasha Perie, a young mother kept alive on life support when she was pregnant due to doctors’ concerns about the Eighth Amendment
Natasha, aged 26 at the time of her death, was pronounced brain dead during November 2014 when she was 15 weeks pregnant. She was maintained on life support for an another four weeks after this due to doctors’ uncertainty when it came to the, at the time unrepealed, Eighth Amendment. Life support was disabled following a High Court order being received by her family on December 26, 2014.
The final settlement was awarded for negligence in the treatment Natashed was given at Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar and €1.3m of it will be handed over to Ms Perie’s two children, who are now aged eleven and nine. Her father Peter Perie took the injury compensation action for damages on behalf of his two grandchildren (Natasha’s children) due to the loss of their mother. Both children, who have different fathers, had been residing with their mother in Mr Perie’s house but, since her death, have been residing with their respective fathers.
The HSE accepted liability in the case but did not accept the extent of damages which were estimate at €3.2m. The State Claims Agency offered a settlement of around €1.5m to be made by the HSE. Nervous shock claims by seven family members had been settled on a previous occasion and Ms Perie’s daughter received €150,000 in those particular proceedings.
Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy presided over the fatal dependency case, which began yesterday, after a mediation did not result in an agreement and the €1.5m offer made earlier this week was not accepted.
An apology had been issued by the HSE for the family last November from the Mullingar hospital and the HSE in relation to issues with Ms Perie’s care at the hospital in late 2014. She was confirmed as brain dead just days following her admission there on November 27, 2014, but was then placed on life support.
Justice Murphy was informed in court, by members of his extended family and the children’s fathers and relevant medical staff, in relation to the impact on the children of seeing their mother on life support. Dr Frances Colreavy said Ms Perie’s eyes did not shut properly. She said nurses informed her that the young children, especially the then six-year-old girl, were upset, with both refusing to go near their mother. The present state of the girl was referred to as “inconsolable”. A care expert also told the Court that both children would need live-in nannies until they were old enough to leave home. The judge expressed concern about that and certain other aspects of the lawsuit.
Yesterday morning, however, following further mediation talks, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was asked by Jonathan Kilfeather SC, instructed by Gillian O’Connor solicitor, of Michael Boylan Litigation, to give his approval the €1.5m settlement offer.