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Husband's grief after wife died from sepsis days after giving birth

PUBLISHED: 08:01 29 March 2019 | UPDATED: 08:01 29 March 2019

Colchester General Hospital

Colchester General Hospital

The husband of a mum from Essex who died from sepsis less than two weeks after giving birth to their first child has spoken of his heartbreak at her death.

Christopher Jeffries said had his wife Kimberley received the correct treatment at Colchester General Hospital she could still be alive and their daughter would have a mother.

An inquest later heard that East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) had learnt lessons from Mrs Jeffries’ death in April 2018.

This included introducing a maternity services action plan covering areas including improvement of patient safety, communication and situational awareness.

Mrs Jeffries, a care home administrator, and her husband had been together since they were teenagers and married in 2014

Mr Jeffries, of Clacton, said: “I still cannot really believe how just a little over two weeks since the arrival of our beautiful daughter, Kim had died.

“Her death has left us all devastated but what is even more heart-breaking is that Kim is no longer here to see our daughter grow up.

“It is difficult not to feel angry that if Kim would have received the care she deserved that she could still be alive.

“All our family can hope for now is that Kim’s death is not in vain and the Trust ensures it learns lessons.”

The inquest into Mrs Jeffries’ death returned a narrative conclusion.

Dr Angela Tillett, interim Chief Medical Officer at ESNEFT, said: “We offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to Mrs Jeffries family at this very difficult time.

“We have already taken significant steps to improve the recognition and treatment of sepsis in women who are pregnant or who have recently had a baby to make sure the quality of care continually improves.”

Mrs Jeffries, aged 29, was discharged from hospital two days after giving birth on April 3.

She was prescribed antibiotics for a possible womb infection but 10 days after being sent home Mrs Jeffries was rushed back to Colchester General in the early hours of April 15.

The source of the infection that led to the sepsis was never established, although it is thought to have been the womb infection endometriosis.

Mrs Jeffries underwent emergency exploratory surgery during which pieces of placenta left over from her caesarean were removed.

Doctors eventually decided she needed a hysterectomy but Mrs Jeffries died on April 18 on her way to theatre from multiple organ failure following heart failure.

Mr Jeffries said: “Kim was the most loving and affectionate wife. We were inseparable and did everything together.

“We had always spoken about how many children we wanted. We both wanted a big family and were so overjoyed when our daughter came into our world.

“Kim will always be part of our family and our daughter will grow up knowing how much Kim loved her and how proud she would be of her.”

Natalie Fox, specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell which represented Mr Jeffries, said: “This is a truly tragic case which understandably has left the family absolutely devastated.

“For many months Christopher and the rest of the family have had a number of concerns about what happened in the lead up to Kimberley’s death.

“The Hospital Trust’s internal investigation and the inquest have identified areas of real concern in the care that Kimberley received.

“We recognise that the Hospital Trust has identified a number of areas where patient care can be improved.

“It is now vital that these are implemented and enforced at all times to reduce the risk of others having to endure the pain that Christopher and the rest of the family are going through.

“Awareness of the signs of sepsis and early detection and treatment are key to beating it.”

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