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Woman Receives Compensation for Post-Surgical Bleeding

A woman who experienced massive post-surgical bleeding following the delivery of her child has been awarded compensation by the High Court.

In January 2008, Honey Larkin of Letterkenny, County Donegal, brought a case against the Health Service Executive and her consultant gynaecologist Eddie Aboud for negligence surrounding the birth of her child at the Letterkenny General Hospital. Honey-forty two years-of-age-gave birth by emergency Caesarian section at the hospital. After the operation was complete, she experienced a massive internal haemorrhage. In spite of displaying symptoms of post-surgical bleeding, these were overlooked by medical staff in charge of the birth.

Honey lost more than half of her total volume of blood by the time she was returned to the operating theatre to attempt to stop the bleeding. Honey later described this as a “near-death” experience. Honey claims that she now suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of the incident, and now has a fear of medical procedures.

Honey further claims that neither her gynaecologist nor the other medical staff at the hospital checked on her following the surgery, and thus failed to recognise that she was bleeding after the initial surgery. When her distress was eventually responded to, there was a failure to attach due significance or act appropriately within a reasonable time.

Both of the defendants denied the claim, stating that Honey had been treated in an appropriate manner as soon as her post-surgical bleeding was recognised by medical staff. However, Honey continued with her claim for compensation. As their was a dispute over liabilty, the case was brought to the High Court.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross oversaw proceedings at the High Court. He was told that no bleeding had been apparent when Mr Aboud had finished the Caesarean Section operation. Mr Aboud said that when he was called back to attend to Honey´s post-surgical bleeding, he performed the operation successfully to stop the haemorrhage. Judge Cross said that no blame could be attributed to Mr Aboud and that charges against the consultant gynaecologist were dropped.

The judge did stated that the length of time that it had taken for medical staff to identify the bleeding and respond to Honey’s distress was inadequate, and must have caused Honey a great deal of distress. The judge awarded her €25,000 in compensation as a result of the hospital “needlessly” delaying Honey’s revision for surgery by more than an hour.

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