Family of woman who died after childbirth awarded almost €1m by HSE

Sligo General Hospital

The family of an Indian woman who died a week after giving birth to her first child has been awarded almost €1m in damages from health chiefs.

Dhara Kivlehan, 28, died from multi-organ failure in Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital in September 2010.

She had been airlifted from Sligo General Hospital after suffering from a severe variant of pre-eclampsia called Hellp (Haemolysis, Elevated Liver Enzymes and Low Platelets).

Her death and maternity care has drawn parallels with that of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar who died in hospital in Galway last October after suffering a miscarriage and blood poisoning.

Inquiries into Mrs Halappanavar’s death found she was denied an abortion as she miscarried and subsequently suffered fatal infection as doctors failed to recognise and act on signs that her condition was deteriorating.

In the High Court in Dublin today, the Health Service Executive (HSE) apologised to widower Michael Kivlehan and the extended family for shortcomings in his late wife’s management and care at Sligo, where the couple’s son Dior was delivered.

The legal action was settled in front of Judge Mary Irvine.

“The HSE unreservedly apologises to the Kivlehan and Sandhu family for the shortcomings in relation to the management and care of Dhara Kivlehan at Sligo Regional Hospital,” Adrienne Egan, a barrister for HSE told the court.

“They offer their sincere condolences to Michael Kivlehan and to his extended family in Ireland and India.

“The HSE confirms that lessons have been learned from the tragic outcome in Dhara’s case.”

Mrs Kivlehan, died on September 28 2010 and the inquest in to her death, to be held in the North, has been delayed for the court action.

Her heartbroken widower Michael has been supported in court by his parents Michael senior and Susan.

The couple met in London in 2002 where Dhara was studying fashion and Michael was working.

They moved to Co Leitrim and married in 2005 and planned to bring up a family where Michael was reared.

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