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Monday 11 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C

Timeline: Search for answers after death of Dhara Kivlehan

The 29 year old died four years ago after giving birth to a baby boy.

Dhara Kivlehan inquest Family handout Family handout

THE INQUEST INTO the death of Dhara Kivlehan has started in Leitrim as the coroner’s court hears evidence on how the 29 year old died days after giving birth to her son.

The Dromahair resident died on 28 September 2010 at Belfast’s Victoria Hospital, where she had been transferred four days earlier in a critical condition.

Her baby boy was born by Caesarean section on 20 September at Sligo General Hospital.

Originally from India, Dhara Kivlehan moved to Ireland with her husband Michael after they were married. They settled in Friarstown to start a family.

Her pregnancy had been described as routine until weeks before her due date when she was diagnosed with a severe variant of pre-eclampsia called Hellp (Haemolysis, Elevated Liver Enzymes and Low Platelets).

She was suffering with stomach pain and swelling in the last term of her pregnancy.

The first-time mother had been admitted to Sligo hospital on 20 September and continued to deteriorate after childbirth. 

She underwent an emergency C-section and her son, Dior, was born. She was not initially transferred to the ICU but brought back to a private, side room near the nurses’ station. Her family has questioned the decision not to bring her to intensive care immediately after surgery.

She was treated for a day and a half in the same room before being moved to ICU. After mentions of kidney failure and dialysis, Dhara was eventually airlifted to the Royal Victoria Hospital where she died of multiple-organ failure.

Her condition was described as critical on arrival and her family say she was unrecognisable – bloated, puffy and an unusual, orange-yellow colour.

An inquest into her death was held in Northern Ireland but witnesses were not compelled to attend. The family fought for a second inquest to be held in Ireland, and the Attorney General ordered one to take place in Carrick-on-Shannon.

Dhara Kivlehan inquest PA Wire / Press Association Images PA Wire / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Coroner Eamon MacGowan began hearing evidence at the inquest yesterday and proceedings are expected to run through to next Monday.

A jury of five men and two women has been sworn in, according to Shannonside.

Now 35, Michael Kivlehan told the court that he wanted answers for his four-year-old son Dior.

Dhara Kivlehan inquest Brian Lawless / PA Wire Brian Lawless / PA Wire / PA Wire

The widower also said he lost the light of his life.

An earlier civil case saw the HSE make a settlement of €790,000 with the Kivlehan family. A separate case, taken by the husband, was also settle for an undisclosed sum.

The HSE issued a fully apology on 3 December 2013. Speaking on that day, Michael Kivlehan said that the “battle for justice continues”.

He called once more for an inquest, stating that “Dhara’s memory deserves this at least.”

Dhara Kivlehan inquest Family handout Family handout

The inquest continues.

Read: ‘Heartbroken’ family of Dhara Kivlehan call for inquest

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