Monday, 21 June, 2010

IVF mother died in Caesarean surgery without seeing baby

A Nurse who spent years undergoing IVF treatment died after suffering brain damage giving birth and never saw the baby she had longed for, an inquest was told today.

Joanne Lockham had an emergency Caesarean operation to deliver her son but surgeons accidentally starved her brain of oxygen for as long as 30 minutes, it was claimed.

Mrs Lockham, 45, and her husband Peter had been through several rounds of failed IVF treatment when she finally became pregnant. Her baby was six days overdue when she went to Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury to have labour induced on 9 October 2007.

Coroner Richard Hulett told the inquest in Amersham today that surgeons had intended to give Mrs Lockham an epidural but because her labor was taking so long it was decided at 6pm to give her a general anesthesia.

Mrs Lockham sobbed to midwives as she was told of the change of plans but was assured that she would soon be holding her first child in her arms.However, problems arose in the operation theater after Mrs Lockham went under anesthesia.

The jury heard that three attempts were made to give her oxygen via a tube before it was eventually believed to have been successful.

However, within moments of the birth, Mrs Lockham suffered a cardiac arrest.

When a consultant anesthetist arrived at the hospital at 7.30pm after being paged because of the complication, he was unhappy with the placement of the tube and removed it.

Dawn Swaffer, who assisted the anesthetist despite not having been medically trained, broke down in tears as she told the inquest how the consultant was "not happy with its placement".

Asked if the intubation had been successful she added: "From my point of view, it was possibly not correct."

Mrs Lockham was transferred to the hospital's intensive care unit but was certified dead two days later after sustaining irreversible brain damage.

Her husband Peter is now bringing up their son Finn alone at their home in Wendover, Buckinghamshire.

A post-mortem examination concluded that she died as a result of a lack of oxygen to the brain resulting in cardio-respiratory arrest, with a second cause as multi organ failure.

The case continues.

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