| 6.3°C Dublin

Doctor 'should have known Sally was at risk from syndrome'

Close

Sean Roulette arriving at Sligo Court for the inquest into the death of 36 year old Sally Rowlette from Dromore West, Co. Sligo, who died during childbirth at Sligo Regional Hospital

Sean Roulette arriving at Sligo Court for the inquest into the death of 36 year old Sally Rowlette from Dromore West, Co. Sligo, who died during childbirth at Sligo Regional Hospital

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.

/

Sean Roulette arriving at Sligo Court for the inquest into the death of 36 year old Sally Rowlette from Dromore West, Co. Sligo, who died during childbirth at Sligo Regional Hospital

A CONSULTANT in charge of the care of a woman who died after giving birth to her fourth child knew she had been treated previously for the illness which killed her but had failed to act on it, a former colleague has told an inquest.

Dr Murshid Ismail would have had the medical records of Sally Rowlette showing that she had been treated in intensive care in 2007 after the birth of her second daughter, Abbie, said consultant obstetrician Dr Heather Langan.

It was Dr Langan who treated Mrs Rowlette in 2007 and she said she had noted the mother had suffered from HELLP syndrome, recorded in her medical records.

Mrs Rowlette, from Dromore West, Co Sligo, died on February 5 last year at Sligo Regional Hospital from a brain haemorrhage brought on by HELLP syndrome, a severe form of pre-eclampsia that causes extremely high blood pressure.

In her evidence before coroner Eamon MacGowan at Sligo Courthouse, Dr Langan said Dr Ismail would have had charts from all of Mrs Rowlette's three previous pregnancies.

Asked by solicitor Roger Murray, for the Rowlette family, why Dr Ismail had not acted on the warnings in the medical records, Dr Langan replied: "If he didn't do that, then that's a matter for him."

Dr Langan said 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 is now living in Saudi Arabia.

She insisted, however, that she discussed HELLP syndrome with Mrs Rowlette in the presence of her husband in the minutes after Sally Jnr was born. Mr Rowlette has disputed this.

Solicitor Roger Murray acting for Sean Rowlette said medical records show that Mrs Rowlette was seen only once between 3.10am and 7.45am on February 4. Baby Sally was born at 2.44am and her mother was seriously ill and transferred to the intensive care unit.

Mr Murray put it to Dr Langan, who examined Mrs Rowlette at 4.30am, that a consultant should have been "at the beside" of the patient throughout this critical period.

"Our information is that had Sally Rowlette been in the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin, a consultant would have been at her bedside throughout this time," he said.

Dr Langan also confirmed that Mrs Rowlette had not received any counselling after the 2007 birth. Mothers who recover from HELLP syndrome are now counselled six weeks after the birth under new guidelines.

Damien Tansey, also for the Rowlette family, said expert Dr Peter Boylan will tell the inquest that Mrs Rowlette represented a medical emergency that required "immediate senior medical attention" when she arrived at the hospital at 1am.

Mr Tansey said that had "effective action" been taken at 6.30am and she had been given a brain scan instead of receiving it at 7.50am, Beaumont Hospital would have seen it and given instruction that she be transferred as quickly as possible.

ICU consultant Dr Seamus Crowley, who did not come on duty until 8am, agreed that if he had been there at 6.30am he would have ordered a scan.

Mr Tansey insisted: "Sally Rowlette lost the opportunity of having a life."

hnews@herald.ie


Privacy