The following article was published in the Irish Independent on Thursday November 29 2012.

THE family of a young mother who died seven months after she had a heart attack while giving birth has settled an action for damages for €690,000.

Jennifer Crean (35) slipped into a coma after the heart attack as her second child was delivered by Caesarean-section at the National Maternity Hospital (NMH), Holles Street, Dublin.

She gave birth in July 2008 and died on February 10, 2009, leaving behind her husband Francis, first son Adam and baby Daniel.

Mr Crean said he hopes no other family ever has to go through that again.

"I just hope that my wife Jennifer's death was not in vain and that Holles Street have learnt some lessons from this tragedy and that new protocols are set up so this will never happen to anyone else again," Mr Crean told the Irish Independent.

In the High Court, Mr Justice Iarflaith O'Neill approved a settlement of €690,000 for Francis, Adam (11) and Daniel (4) arising out of her death.

Adam, who was just seven at the time of his mother's hospitalisation and death, also settled his action for damages for nervous shock for €40,000. He misses his mother and has been suffering from grief, the court was told.

Mr Crean, of Rosanna Close, Ashford, Co Wicklow, had sued the NMH and the case was before the court for assessment of damages only.

Mrs Crean was diabetic and, it was claimed, she was on a long-term intravenous insulin infusion via a Hickman line.

During the pregnancy the line became regularly infected and had to be changed.


On June 30, 2008, when she was 35 weeks pregnant, Mrs Crean was admitted to the NMH with severe abdominal pain and sweating. By the next day a diagnosis was made that the likely source was the Hickman line and she was prescribed antibiotics.

On July 2 an emergency Caesarean-section was planned but after receiving a general anaesthetic, Mrs Crean had a severe cardiac arrest. She was resuscitated and transferred to Beaumont Hospital.

She suffered a further cardiac arrest sustaining severe brain damage, putting her into a vegetative state from which she never recovered and she died on February 10, 2009.

Mr Crean claimed the hospital failed to heed and act upon the serious risk of septicemia developing. It was further claimed the hospital induced a general anaesthetic when it was wholly inappropriate to do so.

Mr Crean was extremely shocked and it was claimed he suffered severe emotional upset.

He had to deal with his son Adam who also found his mother's vegetative state extremely difficult, and had to arrange for the infant Daniel to be looked after.

Mr Justice Iarflaith O'Neill said he had no hesitation in approving the settlement.

— Tim Healy

29 November 2012

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