Parents Compensated for Death of Newborn

A couple have received a five-figure settlement of compensation for the wrongful death of their baby son.

On the 20th November 2012, Fiona Watters was admitted to the Cavan General Hospital in anticipation of the birth of her first baby. During the morning of the 22nd November, her waters broke, and she was subsequently administered Prostaglandin in the hopes of hastening the delivery.

As the labour progressed, Fiona was given increasingly high doses of Prostaglandin. That evening, an attempt was made to delivery her baby naturally, though after an hour of pushing, an obstetrician – Dr Salah Aziz –  was consulted.  He was informed that the baby was not yet crowning and that there were indications that he was suffering from foetal distress.

When Dr Aziz arrived at the labour ward, he discovered that the only out-of-hours operating theatre was occupied. He then attempted to deliver the baby using a forceps and a vacuum to no avail. Eventually, the theatre was made available and Jamie, Fiona’s son, was delivered.

However, by the time Jamie was delivered he was not in great health and was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit at the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin. However, he died just two days later. In August 2013, an initial investigation into Jamie’s death was stopped when Dr Aziz pointed out that the investigators assigned by the HSE failed to follow correct protocol.

As Fiona and her partner, Francis Flynn, had received an advanced copy of the inquest report they decided to pursue a claim for medical negligence compensation against the Cavan General Hospital and the HSE.

However, for over a year the HSE denied that they were liable for Jamie’s death. They then commissioned a second investigation into Jamie’s birth, which was carried out by an independent reviewer after the deaths of two more infants in the hospital.

By the end of 2014, Jamie’s death was attributed to medical misadventure. The coroner’s report said that the increasingly high doses of Prostiglandin coupled with the lack of a second out-of-hours operating theatre at the hospital and Dr Aziz’s failure to notify the registrar of Jamie’s expected birth were contributing factors to Jamie’s death.

After this report, the State Claims Agency entered negotiations for a settlement of compensation for Jamie’s wrongful death. Eventually, Fiona and Francis were offered €70,000 in compensation.

Mr Justice Richard Humphreys approved the settlement at a High Court hearing earlier this month. Whilst approving the claim, he stipulated that €5,000 of the settlement should be put aside for Fiona and Frank’s daughter.

Posted in Childbirth Negligence in Ireland, Wrongful Death