Hospital apologises after death of 6-year-old girl; Family happy no others will suffer in same way

By Ann O'Loughlin

University Hospital Galway has apologised in the High Court to the family of a six-year-old girl who died three days after she was brought to the hospital suffering from low blood sugar.

Little Aibha Conroy who had peviously been in the Galway hospital and diagnosed with hypoglycaemia, but was not referred on for specialist care, was again admitted on December 11, 2011 with low blood sugar.

Aibha Conroy from Gowla in Connemara who died at on 14 December 2011.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told Aibha from Gowla, Connemara, Galway had a cardiac arrest in A&E, was ventilated, intubated and transferred to Temple Street Childrens' Hospital, but her life support was disconnected after three days and she passed away on December 14, 2011.

The apology was read out in the High Court today as part of the settlement of an action by Aibha's parents and younger sister against the HSE over her death.

The hospital said it deeply regretted and apologised to Kathleen and John Conroy and their family "for the failure to refer Aibha to Crumlin Children’s hospital for investigations" following her admission in August 2011.

Kathleen, Sorcha and John, parents and sister of the late, Aibha Conroy outside the Four Courts today. Pic: Collins

"University Hospital Galway together with its clinical and nursing staff wish to extend their sincere and heartfelt sympathy to the Conroy family on the death of their daughter Aibha," the apology by the hospital general manager Chris Kane said.

It added: "The hospital acknowledges and greatly regrets the huge trauma and suffering of the Conroy family resulting from the death of Aibha."

The details of the settlement are confidential.

Solicitor Damien Tansey speaking on behalf of the the Conroy family said they were delighted the legal battle was over but are absolutely distraught at the loss of Aibha.

He said it was a term of the settlement the HSE would appoint a consultant endocrinologist to University Hospital, Galway in order to ensure what happened to Aibha would not happen again

The Conroy's entire mission, he said was to ensure the same thing did not happen to another family.

"Losing a daughter at six and a half years was an enormous tragedy and the Conroys were concerned primarily the necessary expertise would be hired in to University Hosptial, Gawlay so when another kid like Aibha presented with hypoglycaemia the necessary expertise was there," he added.

Earlier, Declan Buckley SC for the HSE also told the court a consultant paediatric endocrinologist has now been appointed to the the Galway Hosptial and will take up a position there in June 2018.

Aibha's parents Kathleen and John Conroy and her youngers sister Sorcha Conroy of Gowla , Cashel, Connemara, Co Galway, had sued the HSE over the death of Aibha on December 14, 2011.

The Conroy's counsel Des O'Neill SC, instructed by Damien Tansey Solicitors, said Aibha had presented at the Galway hospital on three occasions in 2011 and in August a diagnosis of hypoglycaemaia had been made, but he said she was not referred on for expert analysis and there was no endocrinologist in Galway at the time.

On December 11, 2011, Aibha was brought to the hospital with low blood sugar and was given dextrose treatment. She had a cardiac arrest and was resuscitated and transferred to Dublin where she died three days later.

It was claimed had Aibha been properly investigated in her previous visits to the hosptial, her underlying condition would have been identified and appropriate treatment instituted by September 2011.

It was further claimed there was a failure to carry out thorough investigations in August 2011 and Aibha was allegedly managed in a sub-standard fashion and there was a failure to refer her to a paediatric endocrinologist in August 2011.

In court today Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told the family wanted the entire statutory amount of €25,300 to be paid to Aibha's sister, Sorcha.

Approving the settlement Mr Justice Cross said the family had been "very sensible and noble" in relation to the case and he offered his sympathies on the death of Aibha.

He noted the apology and the corrective action taken by the hospital in appointing an endocrinologist and he hoped the family would take some comfort from that.

KEYWORDS: High Court, Galway


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