HSE admits liability five years after the death of Evelyn Flanagan

The family of the late Evelyn Flanagan have this week welcomed the acknowledgement of liability from the HSE in relation to her death almost five years ago in Mayo General Hospital. High Court proceedings had been issued by the late Mrs Flanagan’s family following the decision of the coroner’s inquest in 2009 that she had died as a result of medical misadventure.

The High Court proceedings were listed for a full hearing in December, but following recent mediation a settlement was reached in which liability was admitted by the HSE. The late Mrs Flanagan’s family have said they “welcomed the acknowledgement of liability by Mayo General Hospital, albeit very late in the day”.

Evelyn Flanagan died on October 19 2007, a few hours after giving birth to her second child. Her family maintained that her death was avoidable and that she had not received timely and appropriate treatment at Mayo General Hospital in the hours after giving birth. Her family maintained that her post partum haemorrhage had been left unattended and then inadequately treated. This was disputed at the inquest by representatives of Mayo General Hospital. But after hearing evidence of independent medical witnesses brought in by the coroner, the inquest jury decided in 2009 that Ms Flanagan died as a result of medical misadventure, specifically “acute cardiac failure following post partum haemorrhage following blood and fluid administration”.

When contacted about the case the HSE West issued the following statement to the Mayo Advertiser. “The management and staff at Mayo General Hospital extend their sympathies to the husband and family of Evelyn Flanagan on their tragic loss in 2007. It is always the expectation that a mother like Evelyn Flanagan would be home with her newborn baby, but this was sadly not so in her case.

In order to respond to any similar clinical situation arising in the future, the hospital has put in place a number of protocols. The hospital is committed to a programme of continuous improvement in the clinical care provided to patients, and arrangements have also been put in place to have clinical audits undertaken on a monthly basis. Mayo General Hospital would like to assure the patient population it serves that robust arrangements are now in place to notify and review any serious adverse event that occurs at the hospital in order to identify any shortfall in its services and to implement improvements whenever possible.”


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