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Hiqa publishes terms of reference into investigation prompted by the death of pregnant woman

Thawley (34) died at the Dublin hospital on 8 May 2016 during surgery for an ectopic pregnancy.

National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street.
National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street.
Image: Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie

HIQA HAS PUBLISHED the terms of reference of the planned investigation prompted by the death of pregnant woman Malak Thawley at Holles Street Hospital in 2016.

The inquiry to be carried out by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) was committed to by the Minister for Health, Simon Harris.

Thawley (34) died at the Dublin hospital on 8 May 2016 during surgery for an ectopic pregnancy.

The National Maternity Hospital (NMH) accepted responsibility and acknowledged liability for her death and a damages case taken by her husband against the hospital was settled last month.

The investigation regards the safety, quality and standards for the safe conduct of obstetric and gynecological surgery outside of core working hours and response to major emergencies at the National Maternity Hospital.

The terms of reference published today make no explicit mention to Thawley.

The NMH has recently been granted leave to seek a judicial review of Harris’s decision to order an investigation.

Last month, the hospital expressed concern that a new inquiry into the death of a woman at the hospital could lead to “massive operational and safety issues”.

Malak Thawley

Last year, a coroner returned a verdict of medical misadventure following an inquest into her death.

Malak Thawley needed emergency surgery after a scan diagnosed an ectopic pregnancy, which occurs when an embryo implants itself outside of the womb, usually in one of the fallopian tubes.

The inquest heard of a number of issues that arose as doctors tried to save the woman’s life, including staff levels and availability of blood and adrenalin.

The hospital previously apologised unreservedly for the shortcomings the Malak’s care.

Terms of reference

The terms of reference for the investigation include:

  • To investigate, determine and evaluate the appropriateness of measures employed at the National Maternity Hospital to manage risk and ensure safety in the conduct of obstetric or gynecological surgery outside of core working hours
  • In doing so, to take particular account of the presence of required senior medical clinical decision makers during the conduct of surgical procedures outside of core working hours
  • To investigate and assess the wider overarching governance arrangements at the hospital to ensure safe surgical services outside of core working hours
  • To investigate and assess the readiness of the hospital to respond to major emergencies related to obstetric or gynecological surgical intervention outside of core working hours.

With reporting from Christina Finn

Read: Husband whose pregnant wife died during Holles Street surgery settles damages case

Read: ‘She was a beautiful soul who was going to be the mother of my child and now she’s gone’ >

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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