Frances Cappuccini inquest: Delay of '10 minutes' for vital drugs

Dr Errol Cornish Image copyright PA
Image caption Dr Errol Cornish was cleared of manslaughter by gross negligence

Doctors had to wait up to 10 minutes for vital drugs to treat a mother after an emergency Caesarean section, an inquest has heard.

Frances Cappuccini, 30, died after losing 2.3 litres of blood at Tunbridge Wells Hospital in Kent.

Consultant anaesthetist Dr Errol Cornish said stimulator drugs should have been in every theatre but he had to call for them.

The teacher died after giving birth to her second son on 9 October 2012.

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At a trial last January, Dr Cornish was cleared of gross negligence manslaughter and Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust was cleared of corporate manslaughter.

The inquest was told last week Mrs Cappuccini, 30, suffered a fatal haemorrhage after a piece of placenta was left behind from the operation.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Frances Cappuccini went into cardiac arrest and died after losing a significant amount of blood

Mrs Cappuccini's final hours

  • Mrs Cappuccini is admitted to Tunbridge Wells Hospital in the final stages of labour on 8 October 2012
  • Her son, Giacomo, is born by caesarean section at 08:28 GMT the following morning
  • At 11:35 GMT she is taken back into the operating theatre after suffering a haemorrhage
  • Her breathing tube is removed at 12:30 GMT
  • Half an hour later Dr Cornish is called to assist when Mrs Cappuccini encounters difficulties breathing
  • She suffers a cardiac arrest at 15:16 GMT and is pronounced dead just over an hour later

Giving evidence on Tuesday at Gravesend Old Town Hall, Dr Cornish said the patient was not breathing and needed vital drugs to be brought round.

But it took five minutes for the nerve stimulator to arrive, it failed to work and there was a similar delay for another one, he said.

The inquest also heard another doctor, anaesthetist Dr Nadeem Azeez, removed Mrs Cappuccini's breathing tube at 12:30 BST - an hour after she was taken into the operating theatre following a haemorrhage.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Frances Cappuccini died at Tunbridge Wells Hospital in October 2012

Dr Cornish said in his opinion "from the documents I've seen and the evidence I've heard", the tube was removed too soon.

Asked if Dr Azeez was at a level that required consultant supervision, he said: "Not in every single case, but in this scenario."

The inquest continues.

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