Six-year fight for ‘the truth’

THE family of a woman who died at King’s Mill Hospital in 2005 when she was six months pregnant have finally been awarded £15,000 in compensation.

Denise Kirk (24) died on 21st May 2005 alongside her unborn baby Alisha as she underwent emergency surgery after developing a rare form of the pregnancy blood-pressure disorder, pre-eclampsia.

An inquest seven weeks after Denise’s death revealed a verdict of accidental death, but her parents Eileen and Phil Kirk believed that mistakes were made in their daughter’s treatment by her local surgery and King’s Mill Hospital.

After unsuccessful attempts through a solicitor to make any advances, the grieving couple held individual meetings with the hospital and Limes Medical Centre in Alfreton - but again failed to make any progress.

The case was eventually taken on by the Healthcare Commission in 2007 and an investigation identified that mistakes were made on the operating table - with a vein punctured during treatment, causing cardiac arrest, while there was maladministration in the way Denise’s case had been handled.

Speaking from her home on Birchwood Road in Alfreton, Eileen says their fight for compensation has never been about money but finding out the truth.

“We wanted the hospital to apologise and admit that failings were made,” she said.

“The whole thing has been horrific for us both, we were on holiday in Spain when it happened and found out when we were at the airport surrounded by smiling faces.

“When we heard we were absolutely devastated, you do not expect to bury your children.

“It felt like we were banging our heads against a brick wall for such a long time when trying to find things out.

“For about three months after it happened we were in shock, but when we got over the shock we knew things were not right and it was from there that we started to ask questions about what had gone wrong?”

Eileen and Phil received £10,000 from Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - which runs King’s Mill - and £5,000 from Limes Medical Centre.

Denise, who grew up on Birchwood Road where she attended Christ the King RC and Mortimer Wilson schools, had moved to High Street, Riddings, with her partner six months before she died.

“She was a lovely person, she was everybody’s friends and always smiling,” said Eileen.

Eileen has published a book - Ordinary Lives - about how she and Phil have dealt with the experience of losing their daughter and the book is now available to buy atwww.amazon.co.uk.

Ordinary Lives is available at £12.75, plus £3 postage and packing, by calling Eileen on 01773 834306, by emailing info@eileenkirk.co.uk or at www.eileenkirk.co.uk.

Yesterday, the trust’s chief executive, Martin Wakeley, apologised ‘unreservedly’ to Denise’s family for the ‘tragic and regrettable’ case.

He also said the trust had identified a number of areas for improvement after her death, which had since been implemented.