Sunday 18 February 2018

Organ failure caused by swine flu killed mum of two, court told

Gareth Naughton

A PREGNANT woman died following complications arising from swine flu, an inquest was told.

Sandrine Mallea, a 36-year-old mother of two from Mauritius living in Shankill, was suffering from a small cough when she visited her GP with her partner Mukesh Kumar on January 13, 2011.

Mr Kumar told Dublin Coroner's Court the couple was informed she was pregnant during the consultation with Dr Ray Hawkins.

Dr Hawkins said that he felt she had an upper respiratory infection and prescribed antibiotics.

He referred her to the National Maternity Hospital where pregnant women with viruses were being vaccinated for swine flu, Mr Kumar told the court.

Mr Kumar said that he was present when Dr Hawkins examined his partner and there was no mention of swine flu.

Ms Mallea was referred to hospital two days later, when her conditioned worsened.

At St Vincent's Hospital, she was placed on a ventilator.

On January 26, she was transferred to the life support unit at the Mater Hospital for an ECMO, which is a form of lung and heart bypass designed to give the body time to recover.

It was also discovered that Ms Mallea's pregnancy was no longer viable.

Intensive care consultant Dr Edmund Carton said that after two weeks on ECMO there was no improvement and a decision was made to change a cannula to deliver higher blood flows. The procedure was complicated by internal bleeding and emergency surgery was required to repair two small tears to the heart, he said.

The Mater Hospital has recently changed the method of ECMO cannula replacement to reduce the risk of injury, the court heard.

Ms Mallea remained critically ill for 10 days and she died on February 26.

Mr Kumar told the court that she was unable to communicate once she was put on ventilation. "For me she died then because that is the last day that she talked to me," he said.

The pathologist gave cause of death as liver and multi-organ failure due to swine flu. The coroner returned a narrative verdict outlining the facts.

Irish Independent

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