Mother died in childbirth but 'heroic' doctor saved baby

Mother died in childbirth but 'heroic' doctor saved baby

Philip Dewey

Mother died in childbirth but 'heroic' doctor saved baby

A mother from Burnham died in childbirth after a 'heroic' doctor saved her baby son by carrying out a caesarean section, an inquest heard.

Courtney Gardner, of Thirlmere Avenue, died on June 14 after suffering a heart attack as a result of amniotic fluid embolism, an extremely rare condition which affects one in 156,000 pregnancies in the UK.

An inquest at Windsor Guildhall yesterday heard how the 29-year-old was taken to Wexham Park Hospital on June 11.

At about 3.30am, on June 12, midwife Panagiota Bantoana checked on Courtney after hearing a 'strange noise' and found her on her knees slumped forward unconscious.

The emergency buzzer was sounded and the resuscitation team arrived to carry out CPR on Courtney whose heart had stopped beating.

Dr Lamiese Ismail made a decision to perform a caesarean section in order to give Courtney the best chance of survival although the hearing heard it took up to 11 minutes for a scalpel to be found.

Courtney's son, later named Oscar, was born at 4am, and efforts were made to get his mother's heart beating again, which was accomplished.

She was taken to the Intensive Care Unit but her condition deteriorated and she died two days later.

A post-mortem confirmed the cause of death was amniotic fluid embolism, which was described by pathologist Dr Ashley Fegan-Earl as 'unpredictable and unpreventable'.

Speaking at the inquest, Courtney's mother Debra Herren said: "We stand before you in a state of progressive healing after the unexpected and sudden loss of our daughter.

"We also stand here with joyful hearts from the gift of our seemingly healthy grandson who would not be with us today were it not for the grace of God and the keen efforts of the Wexham Park Hospital staff."

She added that their efforts were 'nothing sort of heroic' and that they were 'deeply grateful' to them.

An internal investigation by Wexham Park Hospital established that the death would not have been prevented if the scalpel was found sooner, but they have changed procedure to make sure equipment is up to date at all times.

Coroner Peter Bedford recorded a death of natural causes.

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