MUKWATA’S FAMILY SUES

DUBLIN. The family of a woman who died hours after giving birth in University Hospital Kerry has issued High Court proceedings against the Health Service Executive.

The 34-year-old Zimbabwean, Tatenda Faith Mukwata, died in the early hours of April 21st 2022, just over six hours after giving birth to her healthy baby daughter, Eva, by Caesarean section.

The HSE issued an apology to the family for her death during this week’s inquest, which concluded yesterday evening, with a verdict of death by medical misadventure.

The jury found Mukwata’s death was probably preventable, that there had been a misdiagnosis followed by a failure to investigate other possible diagnoses.

Catherine Mukwata, Tatenda’s mother, is named as the plaintiff in High Court proceedings against the HSE, which were issued on September 20th with solicitor firm Murphy Healy & Company. 

Mukwata died by medical misadventure and her death was probably preventable, an inquest has found.

The jury of five women and two men deliberated for around one hour and 15 minutes yesterday evening, before reaching their unanimous verdict.

The jury also made seven recommendations arising from the death of Mukwata, for which the HSE had earlier apologised this week.

Consultant obstetrician Dr Mary McCaffrey told the inquest if protocols had been followed, Mukwata could have been correctly diagnosed as early as 9pm on April 20th.

The inquest previously heard the anaesthetic consultant, Dr Iftakir Ali, deemed Mukwata stable at 9:40pm, and left the hospital.

Under cross examination, Dr Ali said he checked on Mukwata before he left the hospital, and the nurse present said she was okay, and he was told nothing extraordinary about her condition.

This is despite readings from the previous half hour which showed her condition was deteriorating, and Dr Ali said she was not critical when he was there but may have got worse after he left.

Dr Mary McCaffrey, consultant obstetrician, said the possible sepsis diagnosis was given by gynaecologist Dr Fahad Hendricks, because of a spike in Mukwata’s temperature post-birth.

Dr McCaffrey said she expected that the sepsis protocols were immediately being followed, which would have meant bloods were taken straight away.

She said if this was followed, doctors would have known Mukwata wasn’t suffering sepsis once blood results were back, and eventually told the inquest this could have been identified as early as 9pm.

Dr McCaffrey said she cannot guarantee this early identification would have saved Mukwata’s life, as it would have been a complex procedure to address the bleeding.

The jury asked Dr McCaffrey why she did not remain at the hospital after requesting bloods be done to get the results, and Dr McCaffrey replied she was contactable by phone the entire night, after she left the hospital at 9:50pm.

Dr McCaffrey told the family she was so sorry that this happened on her watch. RadioKerry.

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