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Judge Awards Compensation for a Swab Left Inside during Childbirth

A judge at the High Court has awarded €117,000 compensation for a swab left inside during childbirth to a mother who subsequently developed an infection.

Sarah Daly from Rathfarnham in Dublin gave birth to a healthy child at the Mount Carmel Hospital on April 22nd 2013. The event should have been a very happy experience for Sarah and her husband but, on April 25th, Sarah returned to the hospital complaining of extreme pain in her lower abdomen.

Despite Sarah having recently given birth, medical professionals at the Mount Carmel Hospital failed to conduct an internal investigation until April 28th. The investigation revealed the presence of a retained swab that had swollen to the “size of a plum”.

The swab left inside of Sarah was removed; but, due to a failure to prescribe her with antibiotics, Sarah developed an infection. After she recovered, Sarah sought legal advice and claimed compensation for a swab left inside during childbirth against her consultant doctor Valerie Donnelly and attending physician Charles Julian Dockeray.

The two defendants acknowledged liability for the Sarah´s injuries, but a settlement of compensation for a swab left inside during childbirth could not be agreed. Consequently, the case went to the High Court for the assessment of damages, where it was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

At the High Court, Judge Cross awarded Sarah €117,000 compensation for a swab left inside during childbirth. The judge commented he believed the award to be “fair and reasonable” because what ought to have been a very joyous occasion for Sarah had become something that will live with her for the rest of her life.

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