Tuesday 20 March 2018

Mother died of malaria following miscarriage in Nigeria

Allison Bray

A GRIEVING husband was left to care for four young children after his wife died from malaria after suffering a miscarriage while in Africa, a coroner's court has heard.

Describing her death as a tragedy, Dublin City Coroner Dr Brian Farrell yesterday said he had the greatest sympathy for the family of Risikit Sanusi, (43), of Castlegate Row, Lucan, Co Dublin.

He found that she died from natural causes after contracting a severe form of Falciparum malaria while on a visit to her family in Nigeria a month before her death.

The disease led to fatal swelling of her brain and lung infection. She died at the intensive care unit at St James's Hospital in Dublin on March 23 this year, the court heard.

"I think the tragic thing is your wife elected not to take malaria prophylaxis because she was pregnant," Dr Farrell told Gahniu Sanusi.

The court heard the Nigerian woman, who moved to Ireland with her husband in 1997, was pregnant with the couple's fifth child when she went to visit her family in Lagos in February.

But she lost the baby due to a miscarriage while there.

She returned home to Ireland afterwards and visited her GP about five days later, complaining of back and abdominal pain and shortness of breath.


Her symptoms worsened and she was admitted to St James's Hospital on March 16, after presenting at the A&E department.

A consultant specialising in infectious diseases confirmed that she had contracted a severe form of malaria.

Three days later she developed septicaemia, requiring treatment with antibiotics.

However, the infection spread and she developed respiratory and cardiac complications requiring intensive care, but her condition further deteriorated.

She then developed a life-threatening condition called Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome leading to dangerously low levels of oxygen in the blood.

Her blood was also found to be badly infected with the Plasmodium Falciparum malaria parasite responsible for the most severe forms of the disease, the court heard.

She developed acute swelling of the brain a day prior to her death.

"I am so sorry to hear of your wife's death," Dr Farrell told Mr Sanusi, who is now raising his two young sons and two daughters on his own.

Mr Sanusi was too upset to comment outside court.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News