Op shock as new mum dies at Southend Hospital

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A NEW mum died moments after giving birth following a fatal allergic reaction to anaesthetic, an inquest heard.

Danielle Kingham, 21, from Westcliff died on 31 July 2010 at Southend Hospital. At the time of her death, Danielle lived in Westcliff with her son Oscar, now aged six, and was expecting a new baby in July 2010.

An inquest at New Bridge House, Chelmsford, on Tuesday heard that on 30 July 2010, when she was five days overdue, Danielle was induced at Southend Hospital due to decreased foetal movement.
In the early hours of 31 July 2010, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl.

Minutes later Danielle began to bleed heavily and suffered from a post partum haemorrhage. She was rushed to theatre for surgery and suffered an allergic reaction to the general anaesthetic she was given, dying 40 minutes later.

A post mortem carried out by independent consultant pathologist Dr Ian Calder found Danielle died from cardiac arrest and anaphylaxis as a result of the anaesthetic called suxamethonium.

Dr Calder told the inquest: “This was a fit and healthy young lady who suddenly died while being induced in a course of anaesthetic. She had anaesthetic given to her and she obviously had a reaction.”

Assistant Coroner for Essex Mrs Eleanor McGann asked if there was any way of knowing in advance that Danielle was going to have a reaction.

Dr Calder responded: “No it was completely out of the blue, I’ve only seen one case of this before I think. Why she was particularly reactive I don’t know but this does occur.”

Dr Louay Louis, who was an obstetrics and gynaecology registrar at Southend Hospital at the time of Danielle’s death, said he saw Danielle and her partner on 3 June 2010 at an antenatal clinic and her pregnancy was progressing well.

On the night of the 30/31 July 2010, Dr Louis was the registrar on call. Dr Louis told the inquest: “Danielle gave birth to a normal healthy baby in a quick labour.”

It then emerged Danielle was suffering from a post partum haemorrhage and medical treatment began to try and get her womb contracting to stop the bleeding.

Danielle was lying in bed cuddling her newborn daughter when the bleeding began. Dr Louis said she was suffering from large clots and Danielle suffered the loss of a quarter of her blood in just 15 minutes.

The decision was made to get Danielle into theatre at 1.17am to stop the bleeding which may have happened as a result of the quick labour.

After being anaesthetised with suxamethonium and repeated attempts to ventilate, Danielle suffered an allergic reaction going into anaphylactic shock. The crash team were called and the team tried to resuscitate Danielle for 40 minutes. She died at 2.19am.

Anaesthetist registrar Dr Selmar Shah told the inquest she was with Danielle minutes after the haemorrhage began.

She said: “She was looking poorly but not showing signs of a clinical life-threatening condition. She was talking to me and I established she had no allergies. She told me she had never had a general anaesthetic before and told me about a family member who had a reaction.”

Dr Shah continued by saying that Danielle’s vital signs were stable as she went into theatre. Dr Shah added after giving Danielle the appropriate anaesthetic she was then unable to ventilate her. “It had a very rubbery feel, it didn’t feel right and there was no chest movement or carbon dioxide.”

Continuing to ventilate with a mask, Danielle was given adrenaline to combat her weak pulse and other medical staff arrived to support, with repeated attempts to ventilate, and CPR taking place. “Nothing we did seemed to make any difference. We continued cycles of CPR for 40 minutes but there was no change.”

The inquest heard there was no realistic alternative to surgery and there was no way of knowing Danielle would have a fatal reaction resulting in cardiac arrest.
Danielle’s mum June, 57, sister Sammy-Jo, 27 and Danielle’s twin brother Dominic, 25, alongside other family attended the inquest. Sister Sammy-Jo asked: “If she had a caesarean would she still be with us now?”

Doctor Louis replied: “The bleeding can happen after any delivery, be it normal or caesarean.” Coroner Mrs McGann also pointed out to have a caesarean Danielle would have needed an anaesthetic which would have killed her and her unborn child.

Coroner Mrs McGann recorded a narrative verdict, saying “Danielle died as a result of an allergic reaction to a necessary medical procedure.”

The inquest then heard a written tribute to Danielle from her mother June.

It read: “In life as a very lively little girl and she grew that into adulthood. She was always so happy, she was the life and soul of the party. Her smile could light up the room when she walked in.”

Danielle’s healthy baby girl now aged three was called Danielle in memory of her mother.

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