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Ayaz Ul Hassan and Nayyab Tariq. Family handout

High Court approves €1.9 million settlement in case of woman who died hours after giving birth

Nayyab Tariq’s husband took a case against the HSE for medical negligence after she died four hours after giving birth to their first child.

THE HIGH COURT has approved a settlement of €1.9 million over the case of a 28-year-old woman who died four hours after giving birth to her first child.

Nayyab Tariq, who worked as a bio-pharmacist and lived in Ballyhaunis, died in Mayo University Hospital on 22 March 2020 while undergoing surgery to remove her placenta.

Her husband, Ayaz Ul Hassan, took a case against the HSE for alleged medical negligence and breach of duty following her death.

In taking the case, he alleged that Mayo University Hospital committed “a series of gross breaches of duty, in particular by miscommunication, non-communication and delaying in the recognition and treatment of shock as a result of significant post-partum haemorrhage”. 

The HSE has admitted liability for Ms Tariq’s death.

In a letter of apology, some of which was read out in court, Mayo University Hospital acknowledged Ms Tariq’s “untimely death” and the “enormity” of the personal loss suffered by her family.

“We unreservedly apologise for the failings in the standard of care provided at the hospital, including the poor communication and updates provided during the time that Nayyab was in the operating theatre,” the letter said.

“We understand that this apology cannot change or negate the depth of your loss, but we wish to assure you that every single recommendation and issue that arose in relation to the standard of care provided is being addressed in full by the hospital.”

Damien Higgins SC, instructed by Johan Verbruggen of Callan Tansey Solicitors, told the court that after giving birth, Ms Tariq “suffered a massive postpartum hemorrhage” and coagulation, which caused her to go into shock and eventually caused cardiac arrest.

He said it is Hassan’s case that Ms Tariq’s death was caused by the negligence of care afforded to her by Mayo University Hospital.

The Saolta hospital group conducted a review of the circumstances surrounding Ms Tariq’s death.

It concluded that the delay in recognising the signs of her shock from blood loss was a causative factor in her death, along with the failure to implement basic measures for postpartum haemorrhage.

An inquest into Ms Tariq’s death was also heard over three days in September 2021.

The inquest returned a verdict of “death by medical misadventure.”

Ms Tariq was from Lahore in Pakistan. She was a microbiologist, having graduated from University College Cork in 2019.

Hassan, a biomedical scientist, and Ms Tariq married in 2017, and the couple began living together in Ireland in 2018.

Following the birth of their first child, a baby girl, the placenta was retained and required manual removal in theatre.

The plaintiff alleged that “chaos then unfolded” and that the defendant committed “a series of gross breaches of duty”.

It was alleged that when the procedure to remove Ms Tariq’s placenta began, she manifested clear signs of shock including labile maternal blood pressure and maternal tachycardia. Her clinical condition subsequently deteriorated to the point where she suffered cardiac arrest.

It was alleged that despite extensive emergency resuscitative efforts, Ms Tariq died as a result of a pulseless electrical arrest, due to large volume blood loss, the court heard.

It was alleged that Hassan’s life “has been completely changed” by the events of 22 March 2020 and that he still has difficulty “coming to terms with what happened and believing that it has actually happened”.

Of the €1.9 million settlement, €973,500 will go to Ms Tariq’s daughter. 

In approving the settlement, Judge Paul Coffey spoke directly to Hassan, saying: “I wish to express my deepest sympathy to you and your family.”

IMG_4378 (R to L) Ayaz Ul Hassan and solicitor Johan Verbruggen speaking to reporters outside the High Court. Jane Moore / The Journal Jane Moore / The Journal / The Journal

Speaking outside the court, Verbruggen said the hospital did the right thing in acknowledging their wrongdoing and apologising. 

“It must be said that the State dealt with this case respectfully, but it is for the hospital management in Castlebar to now show that lessons truly have been learned from Nayyab’s death and to show that the negligent circumstances that led to her death won’t be repeated. Only time will tell.”

Hassan told reporters outside the court that he was still processing everything following his wife’s death. 

“Every time we talk about this, it’s just sort of day one again,” he said.

Asked how he felt about the settlement, he said: “It puts some sort of closure on it knowing that the assurances I got from the HSE to make sure that the recommendations are being met, fixes are being put in place to make sure that this does not happen again and I hope it doesn’t happen again to anyone.”

He said their daughter, who is named Nayyab after her mother, is doing well.

He also said he could not put the impact of his wife’s loss into words. 

“It’s something that no one should have to face and go through,” he said. “I never got to experience the fatherhood that I should have and was forced into being a single parent.”

He thanked his family and friends, as well as his solicitor, for supporting him throughout the proceedings. 

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