Husbands seek to meet with Varadkar

Seán Rowlette and Michael Kivlehan, whose wives died after giving birth in the same hospital, are seeking a meeting with Leo Varadkar, the health minister.

Husbands seek to meet with Varadkar

Mr Rowlette 39, from Dromore West, Co Sligo, said yesterday — a day after an inquest jury found his wife Sally’s death was medical misadventure — that there is an urgent need to discuss the system of healthcare with the minister.

The father-of-four said: “I’d like to tell him my story and the pain we have gone through for the last two years. I want him to hear it first-hand. I want to explain that these things have to be changed. Our family has been torn apart.”

He added: “It was very frustrating listening to the inquest evidence. If things were done right Sally would be here today. I am very angry and I was angry the last few days.”

Mr Rowlette said that he will never forget how helpful the nurses were at Sligo Regional Hospital, but the inquest evidence showed that senior people were to blame for his wife’s death. “They had the people there to do the job but they weren’t there that night. It’s a nationwide thing in the health service.”

Coroner Eamon Mac-Gowan and a jury were told that a duty intensive care unit consultant, named only as Dr Tariq, left soon after Sally was admitted after 1am on February 4, 2013. He did not return to the intensive care unit for four hours.

Sally died from a stroke brought on by HELLP and pre-eclampsia, a high-blood pressure pregnancy disorder.

Dr Boylan said that if there had been a consultant monitoring Sally in the intensive care unit “things might have been different”.

Michael Kivlehan, whose 28-year-old wife Dhara died in Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital — a week after she gave birth in the Sligo Regional hospital, has befriended Mr Rowlette and was with him at this week’s three-day inquest.

Roger Murray, solicitor representing both men, said: “I think the meeting with the minister should happen with these two gentlemen. They have formed a close bond. And they are very capable of putting their case to the minister forcefully. It would take a heart of stone not to be moved by these two men’s stories.”

A HSE spokesman refused to comment yesterday on specific issues arising from the inquest evidence.

A spokesman said: “We would like to reassure our patients that the delivery of quality safe patient care continues to be a key priority at Sligo Regional Hospital across all our services.”

He said improvements that have taken place in the past number of years specifically relating to maternity and ICU services include: n an early warning score to help ensure the early detection of any deteriorating patient and a structured approach to the communication of such information; n handover between shifts of medical staff is now via a structured and documented handover meeting that all members of the obstetric medical team attend;

n ongoing risk management processes with obstetric risk management meetings held to analyse all incident reports, resultant action plans and quality improvement plans; and a post natal communication process for women who had severe HELLP syndrome.

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