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'I would have brought her to hospital earlier', doctor tells inquest of mum of four who died after giving birth


Husband and wife Sean and Sally Rowlette

Husband and wife Sean and Sally Rowlette

Sean Rowlette with his children, Leanne (9), Sally Jnr (21 months), Joseph (four) and Abbie (seven).

Sean Rowlette with his children, Leanne (9), Sally Jnr (21 months), Joseph (four) and Abbie (seven).

The late Sally Rowlette (36), who died at Sligo General Hospital.

The late Sally Rowlette (36), who died at Sligo General Hospital.


Husband and wife Sean and Sally Rowlette

A DOCTOR who treated a mother who died hours after giving birth says she would have brought her to hospital two weeks earlier had she been her patient, an inquest heard today.

Dr Heather Langan was the consultant obstetrician on duty the day mother of four Sally Rowlette, (36), died at Sligo Regional Hospital in February last year.

A coroner's inquest in Sligo today heard Sally's own obstetrician - a Dr Ismail - quit the hospital within three weeks of the death and was believed to be now living in Saudi Arabia.

On the first day of the inquest at Sligo Court yesterday in front of a jury of five men and four women, Mrs Rowlette’s husband Sean disputed claims made in an earlier statement by Dr Langan that the medic had discussed the possibility that Sally had HELLP syndrome, a rare form of pre-eclampsia.

Today however Dr Eamon Langan told Coroner MacGowan that she had been the consultant on duty when Sally gave birth to her second child Abbie in 2007.

She said the Co Sligo woman was diagnosed with HELLP syndrome at the time and had spent 24 hours in intensive care after the birth.

After she was discharged from hospital in September 2007, Dr Langan said: “A letter was sent to her General Practitioner Dr O’Gorman stating that she had a spontaneous vaginal delivery following HELLP syndrome and that her blood pressure and symptoms had fully recovered.”

Mr Rowlette told the inquest that neither he nor his wife had been told of the presence of HELLP syndrome at the time and Mr Rowlette said there had been no discussion of its return on February 4, 2013 in the hours after baby Sally Jnr was born.

However Dr Langan told the court: “I explained to Sally and Sean, who was present in theatre following baby Sally’s birth that Sally would need to be transferred to ICU for ongoing treatment.

“Sally herself asked if she was suffering from HELLP syndrome as had occurred following the second pregnancy and she had recalled that I had provided care to her at that time.

“She and Sean did get the opportunity at that time to cuddle and spend a little time with baby Sally.”

Baby Sally was born at 02:44 on February 4. By 4.30am, said Dr Langan, she had applied a diagnosis of severe pre-eclampsia and HeLLP syndrome.

By 6.20am her condition had worsened, said Dr Langan, with doctors battling to reduce her blood pressure.

“On attempting to rouse Sally for review she awoke on command but it became apparent within a few minutes that Sally was agitated and confused,” said Dr Langan.

She said after 7am she met Mr Rowlette again.

“I advised Sean the situation was serious and that Sally may not survive and that other family members should be informed,” said Dr Langan.

She handed over care of Mrs Rowlette an hour later to Dr Ismail, the mother’s treating obstetrician who had arrived on duty.

Dr Langan said she had a “full and frank discussion” with Sean Rowlette about ten days after Sally’s death as he was visiting his new baby daughter at the neonatal unit.

Under cross-examination by Roger Murray, solicitor for the Rowlette family, Dr Langan confirmed Sean’s version of the conversation.

She confirmed that had Sally been her patient she would have brought her in for induced labour two weeks earlier given her earlier history of suffering from HELLP syndrome.

Dr Langan confirmed Dr Ismail left the hospital within three weeks.

“He had gone on annual leave of two weeks and half-way through that he informed the General Manager he would not be returning,” she said.

The court has heard that Dr Ismail is no longer registered here or in the UK and is believed to be living in Saudi Arabia.

Coroner Eamon MacGowan said attempts to contact him to call him as a witness had been unsuccessful.

The hearing continues.