Family of pregnant Athlone woman kept on life support sue for €3.3million

The family of a brain-dead pregnant Athlone woman who was kept on life support for almost four weeks due to concerns about the Eighth amendment are seeking some €3.3m damages from the HSE over her death.

The State Claims Agency, which is managing the case for the HSE, disputes the level of damages sought.

More than €3.1m is for future costs of care and appropriate accommodation for 26-year-old Ballykeeran woman Natasha Perie’s two young children, now aged 11 and nine, including the cost of full time live-in nannies for both until they reach the age of 23, plus for education and counselling.

The remainder is for some €184,000 for Ms Perie’s father, Peter Perie, for loss of dependency.

At the time of their mother’s death in late 2014, both children were living with her and Mr Perie, a 67-year-old widower, in his four bedroom home where they were described as “happy and content”.

The children have different fathers and, after Ms Perie’s death, the children went to live with their respective fathers in accommodation not owned by the fathers.

A hearing opened before Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy on Tuesday for assessment of damages after a mediation failed to secure agreement on damages.

The family had last November received an apology from the Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar, and the HSE over failings in Ms Perie’s care at the hospital in late 2014.

She was pronounced brain-dead days after her admission there on November 27th 2014 but was afterwards kept on life support, against the family’s wishes, due to doctors concerns about the implications of the Eighth amendment, since repealed.

The family ultimately secured High Court orders on December 26th 2014 ending the somatic support after the court held the only prospect for the unborn was “distress and death”.

The HSE last year accepted liability and accepted Ms Perie’s death was caused by failure to diagnose a brain cyst which ruptured, leaving her brain-dead days after her admission to the hospital on November 27th 2014, having complained of severe headaches on a number of occasions.

The hearing continues on Wednesday.