Dhara Kivlehan 'died of multiple organ failure'

A Belfast pathologist has confirmed that Dhara Kivlehan died of multiple organ failure against a background of a rare syndrome, HELLP.

Dhara Kivlehan 'died of multiple organ failure'

A Belfast pathologist has confirmed that Dhara Kivlehan died of multiple organ failure against a background of a rare syndrome, HELLP.

Dr Brian Herron was giving evidence at the inquest into the death of the 29-year-old Leitrim woman who died at Belfast's Victoria Hospital four days after she gave birth at Sligo General Hospital.

The inquest will be adjourned this evening until Wednesday.

Michael Kivlehan has told Sligo Leitrim Coroner Eamon McGowan that he needs - and that his now four-year-old son Dior deserves - answers about the circumstances of Dhara's death.

Ms Kivlehan died on September 28, 2010, at Belfast's Victoria Hospital, after giving birth four days earlier in Sligo General Hospital.

Today, Belfast-based pathologist Dr Brian Herron testified that Ms Kivlehan died of multi-organ failure due to HELLP 9(haemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelets) syndrome - a severe variant of pre-eclampsia.

Dr Herron, who was involved in Ms Kivlehan's autopsy, said there were "no unexpected surprises as there sometimes can be in maternal deaths" - no presence of sepsis and no other alternative potential diagnoses.

The court this afternoon has also heard from Sligo Midwife Catherine Mulhern that during the course of Ms Kivlehan's labour, she assessed Mrs Kivlehan and gave her the pain killer pethidine, commonly used for women in labour, and a drug to stop her vomiting before checking the results of blood tests ordered on admission.

Several tests on the first set of blood samples had revealed serious issues with Mrs Kivlehan's liver, the inquest heard.

Ms Mulhern said she has subsequently learned that pethidine should not be administered where there is liver disease.

The inquest heard that the HSE claim that Ms Mulhern was not in possession of the first set of blood test results when she administered the pain killer.

The midwife also said she took blood samples for a new set of tests after checking the first results.

"I felt that we needed a more recent picture of the bloods again seeing as the ones we had were of the previous day," Ms Mulhern said.

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