Ipswich: Mum thanks hospital team who saved her life as she gave birth to her stillborn son

A young mum today praised doctors at Ipswich Hospital for saving her life after she suffered a rare life-threatening condition as she gave birth to her stillborn son.

Vicky Dreher and her husband Jamie, of Crowfield near Ipswich, were delighted when they discovered they were expecting their third child last summer.

But arriving at their 20-week scan with sons Benjamin, four, and two-year-old Oliver, the couple were devastated to learn their baby had died in the womb.

“It was heartbreaking hearing that news,” the 31-year-old told The Star.

“We had no reason to think there was a problem, I had only felt him kick a few days before.”

The following day, Mrs Dreher was admitted to the hospital to give birth to her stillborn son, Thomas.

Praising consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Graham Sellars, midwife Hannah English and the team, she added: “If it weren’t for the staff at Ipswich Hospital I wouldn’t be here today. I fell unconscious, I stopped breathing and was losing a lot of blood.”

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Mrs Dreher suffered an amniotic fluid embolism which triggers an allergic reaction, causing the heart and lungs to collapse. It affects around one in 20,464 deliveries and it is so rare that many doctors will never encounter the condition.

“It was terrifying for Jamie,” said Mrs Dreher, a healthcare assistant at Ipswich Hospital. “It is very hard, I am supposed to be grieving for our lost son but I am lucky to be alive, and I have to be grateful for that – it is real mixed emotions.

“I was left with lots of questions about why and how it could all have happened.

“Mr Sellars was brilliant, he invited us back about ten days later to talk us through what happened.

“Many people suffer serious heart attacks as a result but touch wood I am OK and shouldn’t suffer any serious side effects.

“I was here for Christmas with my family and that is the main thing.”

Mr and Mrs Dreher also thanked midwife Hannah English and Paul Ashworth for their care.

“How can you thank someone for saving your life?” Mrs Dreher added.

“If it wasn’t for their quick thinking – and bravery in some ways because many of the team were my colleagues – I wouldn’t be here today.

“Thank you just doesn’t come close to how we feel.”

Thomas was buried at Crowfield church on December 4.

Mrs Dreher added: “He is our star in the sky.”

n Have you suffered a similar experience? Tell us your experiences of Ipswich Hospital. Write to health reporter Lizzie Parry at Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail lizzie.parry@archant.co.uk

A CONSULTANT obstetrician and gynaecologist at Ipswich Hospital said in his 16-year career he has seen just two cases of an amniotic fluid embolism.

Rohit Sharma, who has been a consultant at the Heath Road trust for eight years, said the condition can pose a “phenomenally dangerous” risk to mums.

He said at Ipswich Hospital, which typically sees around 4,000 deliveries each year, he would expect to see a case every five to ten years.

“The mortality rate goes from 20 to 80 per cent,” Mr Sharma said.

“It is phenomenally dangerous, the chances of the mother dying are very, very high.

“The sooner it is detected the better. For most women the condition happens in labour and so they are in hospital with a team around them to act immediately giving resuscitation.

“There have been significant improvements in the last ten years but it is such a drastic condition and often happens very quickly.”

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