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23rd Nov 2021

Coombe apologises for “failings in care” of young mother who died from sepsis

Katy Brennan

“We in the Coombe are truly sorry for the distress that Karen’s death has caused.”

The Coombe Hospital has apologised for the “failings in care” of a young woman who died of sepsis, The Irish Times reports.

Karen McEvoy, 24, passed away on Christmas Day in 2018, one week after she had given birth to her third child.

Ms. McEvoy fell ill in the days after birth and complained of lower back and abdominal pain. She had developed maternal sepsis and septic shock secondary to infection.

Her family – including her partner Barry Kelly and their children Ruby, Toby, and Jake – have settled High Court actions over her death.

Outside the Four Courts, Mr. Kelly said that his partner was an amazing woman, whose death was “completely preventable” if she had been cared for properly.

“Instead, she was wrongly diagnosed with sciatica when in fact she had sepsis,” he said.

“No amount of money will ever change anything for myself and our three children.”

He also said that he hoped his family’s loss would help to increase awareness of sepsis in maternity hospitals throughout the country.

A letter of apology from the Master of the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Michael O’ Connell, written to Mr. Kelly was read out in the High Court.

The letter sincerely apologised to the family for the “failings in care afforded to Ms McEvoy at this hospital on December 23rd, 2018.”

It went on to read:

“I fully accept that these failings should not have happened. I can’t begin to imagine the consequences of Karen’s sad loss on you, Jake, Toby, Ruby, your extended family and Karen’s family.

“We in the Coombe are truly sorry for the distress that Karen’s death has caused.”

The details of the settlements reached remain confidential.

The family’s counsel said they had been through a “calamitous event”.

“It is an appalling tragedy and our experts would say that if Karen got a modicum of treatment she would have made an uneventful recovery,’ he said.

Main Image Credit: Sasko Lazarov/