Husband’s legal bid to find out how wife died
A GRIEVING husband whose wife died just days after giving birth to their first child has said he has been "forced" to take legal proceedings to find out how she died.
Indian-born Dhara Kivlehan (29) - described in court as "more Irish than the Irish" - died at a Belfast hospital in September 2010, eight days after giving birth to their son Dior at Sligo Regional Hospital.
A request by the family for an inquest in Ireland was initially refused on legal grounds by the then Sligo/Leitrim coroner Dr Desmond Moran before the Attorney General ordered a hearing should take place.
Last December the HSE agreed to pay Dior and his dad Michael €800,000 in damages and "unreservedly" apologised to them. The agreement was reached without a hearing in the High Court.
Mr Kivlehan, from Dromahair in Co Leitrim, has been working as a full-time dad to his son since the death of his wife, a fashion designer who was a retail and sales manager with the high street chain Next at their Sligo branch.
His solicitor Damian Tansey told new Sligo/Leitrim coroner Eamonn McGowan at Carrick-on-Shannon Court that the Kivlehan family is upset that although all doctors who treated Dhara at Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital had provided statements, just four of the 12 doctors or consultants at Sligo Regional Hospital had done so.
"Soon it will be four years since Dhara's death and to say they have gone through hoops to get an inquisitorial process under way with a view to extracting answers wouldn't be an exaggeration," said Mr Tansey.
Mr Kivlehan (34) was accompanied at the hearing by Sean Rowlette whose wife Sally died after giving birth at Sligo Regional Hospital last year.
Both women died from HELLP syndrome, a form of pre-eclampsia.
Outside court Mr Kivlehan said he and Mr Rowlette were supporting each other.
"Effectively Sean and I have had to fight to find out what happened to our wives," he said.
"We have had to take civil proceedings and we can't say much until they are over. This is my chance now to have an inquest so that my family and I can actually find out how my wife died. All we want is for things to be done correctly in our hospitals."
Asked about his son Dior, he said: "He's the twinkle in my eye. We have our good days and our bad days. We are looking for some sort of closure. I just want answers because up until now we have been silenced."
Earlier Mr Tansey told the hearing that Dhara and Michael had met in London, moved back to Leitrim and got married and were planning a family together.
"She had become more Irish than the Irish themselves," he said.