Augustus Cullen Law yesterday concluded a High Court Action arising from the tragic and wrongful death of a young mother on the 9th March 2007. Tania McCabe, a Garda Sergeant and 34 years of age at the time, died after giving birth to twins in “one of the most appalling tragedies” Coroner Ronan Maguire had ever come across. Following two days of intensive negotiations, Augustus Cullen Law successfully negotiated the settlement of the action with substantial damages being awarded to the Plaintiff, and an Apology from the HSE over the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of his wife.
Set out below are some of the articles relating to the case;
HSE apologises for death of mother and child after birth
The Irish Indepedent – Thursday, April 14, 2011
"The HSE has apologised over the death of a garda sergeant who died after giving birth to twins in a hospital.
Yesterday, Tania McCabe’s widower, Aidan McCabe (41), who is also a garda sergeant, settled his High Court action for damages for mental distress, shock, loss and damages over the death of his wife and of one of the twins, Zach.
The proceedings were against the HSE and Dr Shane Higgins, a consultant obstetrician/gynaecologist at the hospital, over the deaths at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, Co Louth, in March 2007.
Sgt McCabe died at the hospital on March 8, 2007, following an emergency caesarean section.
One of her prematurely born twin sons, Zach, died in her arms while his twin, Adam, who is now four, survived the ordeal.
Counsel for the HSE told the court it expressed sincere regret over the loss to the family of the mother and child.
The court heard the defendants had admitted negligence and the case.
Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill was told the case had been settled on terms which included that the surviving twin Adam and the couple’s other child, Ben (6), are to receive €105,000 and €101,000 respectively. No other terms were revealed.
The court heard Sgt McCabe had qualified as an accountant before becoming a garda and would have reached the rank of superintendent had she lived.
Sgt McCabe’s parents and husband were visibly upset as the details of her death were recalled. The court heard she was admitted to hospital on March 6, 2007, after her waters broke three months before her due date.
She was discharged the following day, only to be readmitted the next day in labour. The twins were delivered by caesarean section but one of the twins had severe congenital abnormalities and died in her arms a short time after his birth.
Sgt McCabe later suffered a post-partum haemorrhage and had to have emergency surgery but did not survive.
Mr McCabe claimed there was a failure to properly diagnose that her waters had broken and that she was wrongfully discharged. It was also claimed there was a failure to diagnose that she was in septic shock.
Coroner Ronan Maguire called the case “one of the most appalling tragedies I have ever come across as coroner”.
HSE admits negligence over death at maternity hospital
The Irish Times – Thursday, April 14, 2011
"The Health Service Executive has apologised before the High Court to the family of a Garda sergeant who died after giving birth to twins at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.
One of her twin boys died in the arms of Tania McCabe, the court heard.
The apology was made yesterday when Sgt Aidan McCabe (41), Termonfeckin, Co Louth, settled his action over the death of his wife Tania McCabe (34), also a sergeant, who died at the hospital on March 9th, 2007. One of her twin sons, Zach, who was born three months prematurely, had died the previous day.
The case was brought by Sgt McCabe, the couple’s eldest son Ben (6) and surviving twin Adam (4).
The HSE had admitted negligence. The case came before Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill for assessment of damages. The court approved a settlement of just over €200,000 for the two children. Details of the settlement for Mr McCabe were not disclosed.
Adrienne Egan SC, on behalf of the HSE, expressed sincere regret to the family for the very sad outcome and for the loss of Ms McCabe and her baby son.
Ms McCabe was admitted to hospital on March 6th, 2007, after her waters broke three months before her due date, was discharged the following day and readmitted the next day in labour.
The twins were delivered by Caesarean section on March 8th but one had severe congenital abnormalities and died in Ms McCabe’s arms a short time after his birth. In the hours following the birth, Ms McCabe suffered a postpartum haemorrhage and had emergency surgery but died.
Mr McCabe alleged negligence against the HSE and a consultant obstetrician, Shane Higgins, attached to the hospital, in failing to diagnose properly his wife’s waters had broken, wrongfully discharging her from hospital and not diagnosing she was in septic shock when readmitted.
A claim by Ms McCabe’s mother Barbara Corcoran for nervous shock was also settled.
Denis McCullough SC, for Mr McCabe, said Ms McCabe had qualified as an accountant before becoming a garda. He said this was a fatal injuries action arising out of medical negligence that had been admitted by the defendants.
He said she was 13 weeks pregnant in November 2006 with a twin pregnancy and had booked private consultant care under Dr Higgins. On March 8th, a delivery was performed. On March 9th, fresh blood was noted. When she was found unrousable, she was transferred to the intensive care unit for a blood transfusion and oxygen therapy. A laparotomy to control the bleeding was completed but Ms McCabe was subsequently pronounced dead."
If you have any further queries, please contact any of the following from our Medical Negligence Group:
- Joice Carthy, Partner
- Jamie Hart, Associate Solicitor
- David McKechnie, Associate Solicitor
- Ian Lavelle, Associate Solicitor
14 April 2011