Parents settle action over circumstances of baby’s birth and death

A couple who sued over the circumstances surrounding the birth and death of their child at Midland Regional Hospital have settled their High Court action against the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Tia Suhaila Habib (31) and Robert Coyne (39), of Derravaragh Abbey, Multyfarnham, Co Westmeath, claimed for nervous shock damages arising out of alleged negligence and alleged breach of duty regarding the care and treatment of their son Jack Coyne at the Mullingar hospital in September 2016.

Ms Justice Mary Rose Gearty heard on Tuesday that the case had been settled and could be struck out. The confidential settlement was reached without admission of liability.

It came following a day’s hearing of the action last week, during which the court heard the nature of their son’s death has had a “devastating” impact on Ms Habib and Mr Coyne.

Blood transfusion

In their action, the couple made various claims, including that their baby should have been given a blood transfusion within minutes of his birth. Prior to the hearing, the HSE accepted that a blood transfusion ought to have been administered to the baby following delivery.

However, it contended that a blood transfusion would not have had a “causative impact upon the outcome”. It denied all other allegations.

Jack, the couple’s third child, was delivered by emergency caesarian section on September 23rd, 2016. He was observed to be pale, limp, with no heart rate and with the umbilical cord around his neck, according to the claim. Various treatments were given, but the baby remained hypotonic, pale and with no respiratory effort, it was alleged.

Jack died in his mother’s arms at 5.15am the following morning, said the couple’s counsel Declan Doyle SC, instructed by Ciara McPhillips of Michael Boylan solicitors.

He said the infant spent some 13 hours “gasping for breath” after a decision was made to withdraw care.

The Irish Times - Feb 2022

Ellen O’Riordan