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State settles case with Drogheda family over death of eight-day-old baby

In July 2014, baby Thomas died after a feeding tube was inserted into a chamber of his heart.

THE PARENTS OF a premature baby who died eight days after being born have settled their case against the State this afternoon.

RTÉ News reports that Maria Leslie and Thomas O’Rourke from Drogheda had sued the HSE in relation to the death of their baby Thomas, who was born 12 weeks premature in 2014.

An inquest concluded that a feeding tube perforated the baby’s heart, causing his death.

The terms of that settlement weren’t revealed in the High Court; the settlement was reached without an admission of liability.

Speaking outside the Four Courts, the solicitor for the family Kathrina Bray explained the circumstances that led to the death of baby Thomas.

“Today marks the end of a difficult journey for Maria Leslie and Thomas O’Rourke, who sought to establish what exactly happened to their precious son Thomas.

“Baby Thomas was born on the 21 July 2014 in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda. Sadly, he passed away eight days later on 29 July 2014. As Thomas was premature, he required a feeding line to be inserted in order to provide essential nutrition.

At the inquest, the hospital’s experts disagreed with the experts instructed on behalf of the family of the exact location of this line. The coroner, following his complex analysis of this difficult issue, determined that the line had been mispositioned incorrectly into a chamber of the heart.
As a result, the nutritional fluid collected in the heart and ultimately caused baby Thomas’ death.

The family acknowledged that they had been spared the stress of a trial through the State’s willingness to mediate, and urged this approach to be taken in other cases.

“Due to the State’s willingness to mediate, Maria and Thomas were spared the stress, anxiety and trauma of a trial.

No money can compensate Maria, Thomas and their families for the horrendous loss that they have suffered, however they hope to use the settlement to ensure a better future for their sons Conor, Jack and Cian.

“Maria and Thomas would urge the State to engage in mediation in more medical cases,” the statement concluded.

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