A FATHER of four broke down crying at an inquest into his wife's death as he told how she was delighted with the birth of their baby daughter, but died a day later.
Sean Rowlette (39) was giving evidence into the death of his wife Sally (36), who died at Sligo Regional Hospital in February last year.
She was the second mum to die from HELLP syndrome after being treated at the hospital. Dhara Kivlehan from Leitrim passed away 18 months earlier from the illness, a severe form of pre-eclampsia.
Pathologist Dr Clive Gilgallen told a jury of five men and four women at Sligo court that Mrs Rowlette had died from a brain haemorrhage as a result of pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome.
An emotional Sean Rowlette described how he had taken his wife to the hospital just after midnight on February 4 last year. She was very sick and complained of a severe headache.
Before leaving their home in Dromore West, Sally had gone into the bedrooms of her three children Leanne, now nine, Abbie, now aged seven, and Joseph, now aged four.
"She kissed them and told them that she would see them tomorrow," said Mr Rowlette.
It was the last time they saw their mother alive.
The engineer said his wife had problems after the birth of Abbie in 2007 and was taken to an intensive care unit but they both thought it was a problem with a kidney stone.
However, medical records kept by the hospital had shown that Mrs Rowlette had suffered from HELLP syndrome.
"We were told that Sally had high blood pressure but nothing else. Thankfully, Sally recovered. At no point were we told not to have more children or that there were any increased risks associated with this," said Mr Rowlette.
Within an hour of reaching the hospital on February 4 last year, Sally Rowlette was rushed to theatre for an emergency C-section after her baby's heartbeat had dropped to 40bpm.
No porters were available, so Mr Rowlette said he helped push the bed to the lift himself. Baby Sally was born before the operation could take place. His red-haired wife, he said, had held baby Sally and commented: "At last, I have my red-head."
Mr Rowlette broke down crying. His solicitor Roger Murray read the rest of his statement.
Mr Rowlette said his wife was taken to ICU and he was told to go home.
He alleged that when he raised concerns about his wife and newborn daughter, a medic told him: "What do you expect? She's just had a baby."
He said he refused to leave and later that morning he was told his wife had suffered a stroke. He was later told she had suffered bleeding on her brain. By 11am she was on a ventilator, he said. She died the next day.
The court heard that Sally's obstetrician Dr Murshid Ismail quit Sligo three weeks later and was now in Saudi Arabia and couldn't be contacted for the inquest.
Mr Rowlette said he later asked consultant obstetrician Dr Heather Langan if she would have done anything differently if she had been treating Sally.
"She informed me that 'yes', she would have brought Sally in at 38 weeks and induced her, because of the history," said Mr Rowlette.
Sally died the next day, February 5, and her organs were donated to three people.
"The kids find it very difficult without their mum," said Sean.
"Leanne, the eldest, doesn't mention her as much and is very quiet. Abbie talks about her and she, Leanne and Joseph say goodnight to their mother every night.
"They all have her picture beside their beds. It is terrible that baby Sally never knew her mother. I have so many questions for them."
The case continues.