Sheffield mum died after giving birth

The Medico Legal Centre, Sheffield
The Medico Legal Centre, Sheffield

A young Sheffield mum who died the day after giving birth passed away of natural causes, a coroner has ruled.

Sarah Barden died at home in Oughtibridge on December 15, 2013, aged 22 – just hours after having a healthy baby boy called Oscar.

An inquest at Sheffield Coroner’s Court heard there was ‘insufficient’ monitoring and observations of Sarah before and after the birth, at Sheffield’s Jessop Wing maternity hospital.

But assistant coroner Louise Slater ruled these did not contribute to her death.

Yesterday’s inquest heard Sarah waited 90 minutes to be seen when arriving at hospital on December 13, when was found to have high blood pressure. She gave birth in the early hours of the next day.

The inquest was told that when Sarah was passed over into the care of different midwives, they were not told of her high blood pressure and therefore did not carry out observations regularly.

Sarah, who had a low body mass index, also complained of dizziness after giving birth and was found to have a high heartrate.

The court heard Sarah told midwives she was not feeling unwell and asked to go home.

She was checked over by doctor Sarah Whylie, who had no medical concerns about her and transferred her back into the care of midwives, who discharged her from hospital on the evening of December 14 and into community midwifery care.

Sarah was found dead at home the following day.

The cause of death was recorded as unascertained after a post mortem.

Following Sarah’s death, an internal investigation was carried out by Andrea Galimberti, clinical director of obstetrics, gynaecology and neonatology at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

He admitted ‘procedure was not followed correctly’ by staff with regards to observations, but said the decision to discharge Sarah was correct.

He told the inquest he too would have discharged Sarah into midwifery care, but would have also ordered blood tests.

Dr Galimberti said: “We didn’t find any evidence that the death was avoidable and any evidence that keeping her in hospital would have altered the outcome.”

The court heard the hospital had made changes following the death, including the way recordings of the monitoring and recording of patients are made. Staff have also gone retraining.

Ms Slater concluded Sarah died of natural causes.

She said: “With all the evidence from the trust about the inappropriate monitoring of Sarah, I am unable to find if closely monitoring had occurred that it would have affected the outcome.”