Teacher died hours after midwives laughed at her suggestion of a caesarian, husband reveals
A mother-of-two who died just hours after having a caesarian told her husband: "I love you - if anything happens just make sure you look after the boys", an inquest heard.
Primary schoolteacher Frances Cappuccini, 30, died just eight hours after the birth of her second son Giacomo - having lost several litres of blood.
An inquest on Tuesday resumed into her death after it was halted in 2014.
It heard how the mother, from Offham, Kent, was absolutely "terrified" about having her second child after experiencing a traumatic birth with first son Luca - then aged four.
Her husband Tom Cappuccini said she entered Tunbridge Wells Hospital at Pembury, Kent, on October 8, 2012 "certain" she wanted an elective caesarian procedure following advice from a consultant obstetrician at nearby Maidstone Hospital.
But on arrival Mr Cappuccini said midwives had "almost a smirk across their face almost laughing" when he told them she needed a caesarian and had been advised against having an epidural by their doctor.
Giving evidence at the hearing in Gravesend, Kent, on Tuesday, her husband said: "Frankie was terrified. She had been terrified for months in the run up to giving birth because of the previous experience and what happened.
"She was very certain she wanted me to make sure she had C-section on arrival."
The couple had booked an elected caesarian for the following Monday - just two days later - but had arrived at 8.30pm after she went into labour.
He said midwives and doctors at the hospital advised them "not to make a decision based on pain and fear" and told them there was no reason she could not give birth naturally.
Following their advice, she endured 12 hours of grueling labour before being rushed for a caesarian at 8.30am the following morning - where surgeons made the fatal error of leaving a large piece of placenta in the uterine cavity.
Asked if he felt free to make the choice about the birth, Mr Cappuccini added: "I put my trust and Frankie"s trust in the people that were there. They disregarded previous medical advice and we were made to feel small and insignificant.
"In hindsight I wish I had never agreed."
The mother was feeding her newborn son for the first time when she felt blood "flowing between her legs" and midwives found a pool of blood under her sheet.
When bleeding did not stop she was rushed back to theatre for surgery to investigate and stem the bleed.
Following the surgery Mr Cappuccini was told a piece of placenta which was described as "raggedy" was found in her uterine cavity.
But she was rushed to an Intensive Care Unit when she failed to come around from the general anaesthetic.
Appearing emotional in court, Mr Cappuccini said: "I was told that I could see her when she was stable in the ICU but I never got the chance.
"At 4pm a group of doctors came to see me and said her blood pressure had dropped and her heart had stopped. They had tried to revive her but they were unable to do so."
Neil Sheldon, a lawyer representing the family, told coroner Roger Hatch the fact Mrs Cappuccini underwent 12 hours of gruelling labour rather than be sent for an immediate elective caesarian was of "paramount concern" to her family.
He said: "As you will be immensely aware this inquest represents the only chance for Mrs Cappuccini's family to have investigated the circumstances surrounding her death and to have answers to the questions they still have as to why she died.
"There was an early admission of liability by the trust and there has been no civil trial and the criminal trial collapsed - for which the family watched as frustrated and to some extent bemused spectators.
"They have waited four and half years for long this opportunity with no little restraint and great patience."
He claimed if a caesarian had been undertaken at the earlier opportunity her death may have been avoided - something the NHS trust denies.
He added: "If the c section had been undertaken in an elected basis promptly on arrival at hospital l, possibly by a different surgeon, then that basic error may not have been made."
Representing the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, Mike Atkins said the risk of placenta being left behind remained the same regardless of when the surgery took place.
"The risk was no greater in the morning of the 9th than the evening of the 8th because when that surgery was performed the surgeon had the same good view of the stomach open. In fact the same staff were in duty."
Making an emotional tribute to his wife, Tom Cappuccini said: "She was one of the greatest people I am ever likely to meet in my life."
"She was very bubbly, kind, caring and loving person. She had lots of friends and lots of time for her friends.
"She was a great mother, a fantastic wife and she loved looking after Luca.
"As a teacher her education background enabled her to give him a good start to his young life."
The inquest was originally halted in 2014 when it became apparent that criminal charges could be brought following the tragedy.
Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust made legal history by becoming the first NHS trust to face corporate manslaughter charges.
But the case was dismissed by a judge at the Inner London Crown Court in February 2016.
Dr Errol Cornish, the consultant anaesthetist who treated Mrs Cappuccini, was also told he had no case to answer with regards to gross negligence manslaughter charges against him.
Another doctor, Nadeem Azeez, also had charges against him dropped.
The inquest, which is due to last 10 days, continues.