Monday, 10 November 2014

Jehovah’s Witness new mother dies after she refuses to be given blood

New mother: Adeline Keh

A mother who gave birth to a baby conceived naturally after years of failed fertility treatment died in hospital after refusing a blood transfusion because she was a Jehovah’s Witness.

Adeline Keh, 40, became critically ill after her son Mawsi was delivered by caesarean section at the Homerton hospital. She died three weeks later in another hospital after refusing potentially life-saving treatment.

Today her husband told of his grief that “we never came home as a family” as it emerged that the case was one of four maternal deaths in eight months involving the Homerton.
The hospital, in Hackney, has asked NHS England to review the deaths to check for any evidence of common failures in care. The review is expected to be completed next month.
Speaking for the first time since his wife’s death, Kwaku Keh told the Standard: “My wife and I were best friends. We had been trying to have a baby for some time but it had not happened for us even with the help of IVF.

“Then in 2013 my wife got pregnant without medical intervention and our only son was delivered by caesarean section. I was overjoyed and could not wait for them to come home.”
Mrs Keh remained in hospital after her son’s birth on September 18 last year to receive antibiotics for an infection. She developed acute respiratory distress syndrome and was transferred to Papworth, a specialist heart and lung hospital in Cambridge.

She had told doctors of her refusal to receive blood products, and lawyers confirmed her wishes had to be obeyed. She was put on a machine at Papworth but it could not effectively re-oxygenate her blood without a transfusion. She died two days later.

An inquest last month found Mrs Keh died on October 19 last year from a combination of ARDS, sepsis, an infection in the caesarean wound and “refusal of transfusion on religious grounds”.

Coroner Belinda Cheney, in a narrative verdict, said Mrs Keh died from a “rare infective complication”. The source of the infection had been impossible to detect until the post-mortem and the decision not to receive blood “may have compromised the final medical intervention”.

Mr Keh, a lawyer living in Walthamstow, said: “Each time I went to pick her up [from the Homerton] I was told that she could not come home. Eventually my wife lost her fight and passed away and we never got to come home as a family.” The other maternal deaths at the Homerton occurred in July last year and in March and April this year.

Hospital chief executive Tracey Fletcher said she decided to request external reassurance due to the unusually high number of deaths in a short period. She said: “We asked NHS England to look at these cases collectively to make sure we hadn’t missed anything.”
Last year across England and Wales there were 47 deaths of women in pregnancy, during childbirth or in the six weeks after birth.
Pat Williams, the first of the four Homerton mothers to die, suffered from a number of “risk factors” — she was over 40, obese, had previously miscarried and had a large fibroid in her uterus.

Coroner William Dolman described her death, after an elective caesarean, as a “dramatic and sudden tragedy”. He concluded that she died of natural causes after multi-organ failure and a haemorrhage.

In April, the Care Quality Commission watchdog rated the Homerton’s maternity unit “safe” and the hospital as “good”.
But inspectors noted 22 “serious incidents” in maternity between December 2012 and November 2013, including Ms Williams’s death and the “unexpected” death of two newborns.

A Homerton spokesman said the hospital’s status as a high-level maternity unit and its location in east London meant it handled some of the most needy women and babies. It deals with more than 5,000 births a year.

The spokesman said: “The message to mothers is that this is a top-quality service with one of the biggest throughputs of mothers and babies in the capital.”

Source:  London Evening Standard.

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