Tuesday 24 September 2019

Mother of three died from 'very rare disease' shortly after giving birth to son

Tracey Campbell Fitzpatrick briefly saw her new baby Max
Tracey Campbell Fitzpatrick briefly saw her new baby Max
Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

A mother of three died from a "very rare disease that only occurs in pregnancy", shortly after giving birth, an inquest has heard.

Tracey Campbell Fitzpatrick (36) died after giving birth to son Max at St Luke's Hospital, Kilkenny.

Kilkenny Coroner's Court was told the primary cause of Ms Campbell Fitzpatrick's death was an extremely rare disease called Amniotic Fluid Infusion Syndrome.

Ms Campbell Fitzpatrick, originally from Mayo, lived with her husband Bernard and their two other children, Jamie and Adam, in Nurney, Co Carlow.

The inquest was told she gave birth to son Max at 12.55am on March 28, 2016. However, moments after the birth, her condition suddenly deteriorated and she began to haemorrhage.

She died at 3.45am before emergency surgery could begin.

Her husband, her parents James and Pauline and other family members, attended yesterday's inquest and heard how Ms Campbell Fitzpatrick saw her son briefly when the midwife lifted the baby up.

In a statement read to the coroner's court, Ms Campbell Fitzpatrick's husband said she smiled upon seeing her baby son and said "That's Max".

The family told coroner Tim Kiely that Bernard took pictures of Max and showed them to his wife "because she wanted to see her baby". "Her music, the Saw Doctors, was on the radio and I told her to get a smile," he said.

However, Tracey's condition suddenly deteriorated.

"We were told there was a tear in her uterus, the lead midwife told us everything would be OK and there was no reason to panic.

"I gave Tracey a kiss goodbye and told her I'd see her soon," the statement said.

A short while later, gynaecologist Dr David McMurray told the family Tracey had died.

The family said Tracey had "pleaded" for a C-section before childbirth.

Dr McMurray told the inquest yesterday that the young mother had not requested a C-section, but had asked previously would it be "necessary". He added there had been "no clinical indication to do an elective or an emergency C-section".

Consultant perinatal pathologist Dr Peter Kelehan told the inquest that Amniotic Fluid Infusion Syndrome was the cause of between six and 15 deaths per every 100,000 women, according to US data.

The disease involves amniotic fluid from the uterus entering the blood stream and going directly to the lungs.

"It is a very, very rare disease that only occurs in pregnancy," Dr Kelehan told the inquest.

"Detection depends on being able to recognise it from a clinical scenario. It is not identifiable in any way, except at post-mortem.

"It is unpredictable and unpreventable because there is no particular situation in the course of pregnancy where you could predict it."

Dr Kelehan said there were no tests for the condition, although there have been many attempts to find a test.

"It's a healthy woman that loses her life this way," Dr Kelehan added.

St Luke's Hospital carried out a thorough investigation into Ms Campbell Fitzpatrick's death and prepared a 160-page report which included several recommendations for the hospital.

The jury at the inquest returned a verdict of death through natural causes.

Irish Independent

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