Dublin Hospital apologises over death of Castlerea mother of six in 2017

The late Freda Fox.

In September 2017, the Fox family and the extended Castlerea community was struck by the untimely passing of Ms Freda Fox. She died following surgical complications at a Dublin hospital.

Almost seven years later, following a protracted legal battle, Ms Fox’s family has received some closure. Last week, following a High Court settlement, St Vincent’s University Hospital extended an apology to the Fox family along with a €200,000 settlement. That settlement was made without an admission of liability.

Paula Fox, representing the family, expressed their profound disappointment and loss of faith in the medical system.

Freda Fox, a mother of six and a respected figure in Castlerea, underwent a Whipple surgery on September 1st, 2017. This procedure, known for its complexity, was performed by two trainee surgeons.

According to the world renowned medical facility in the USA, The Mayo Clinic: “The Whipple procedure is a complex operation. It can have serious risks. However, this surgery often saves lives”.

Tragically, Ms Fox suffered extensive blood loss of over 17 litres during the operation, leading to multiple cardiac arrests. Despite the efforts made during the procedure and in the intensive care unit, Ms Fox did not survive the complications.

The incident raises critical questions regarding the supervision and involvement of trainee surgeons in complex surgeries. Calls have been made across the political and social spectrum to ensure safeguards are put in place to ensure a tragedy of this nature doesn’t happen again.