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Woman dies of internal bleeding after giving birth
Coleman Legal LLP
Apr 4, 2016

Woman dies of internal bleeding after giving birth

 The post-mortem of a woman who died in St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny hours after giving birth has indicated that she suffered a massive internal haemorrhage.

The death of Tracey Fitzpatrick is believed to be the first maternal death in the hospital in over forty years.

Even though Ms Fitzpatrick received substantial blood transfusions, she sadly died after suffering post-partem haemorrhage.

After giving birth to her third child and beginning to recover normally her condition started to deteriorate rapidly during the night, resulting in her death several hours later.

Post-partem haemorraghes (PPH) are becoming more common internationally as mothers get older and more over-weight. However, Ms Fitzpatrick was only 36 and was in good health, prior to the tragedy. The Kilkenny coroner has been notified and an inquest will be carried out later in the year.

In industrialized countries, PPH usually ranks in the top 3 causes of maternal mortality, along with embolism and hypertension. In the developing world, several countries have maternal mortality rates in excess of 1000 women per 100,000 live births, and World Health Organization statistics suggest that 25% of maternal deaths are due to PPH.

Obstetric haemorrhage remains one of the major causes of maternal death in both developed and developing countries.In the 2003–2005 report of the UK Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths, haemorrhage was the third highest direct cause of maternal death (6.6 deaths/million maternities) with a rate similar to the previous triennium. 7,8 Even in the UK, the majority of maternal deaths due to haemorrhage must be considered preventable,with 10 of 17 (58%) cases in the 2003–2005 triennium judged to have received‘major substandard care’.

An internal review is being carried out by St Luke’s hospital and they have released a statement saying:

“A postmortem was performed yesterday and an internal review process has commenced, with a full external investigation to follow.”

The statement continued saying that the staff and management at the hospital are currently focused on supporting the family at this very sad time.

A report by the Confidential Maternal Death Enquiry, based in University College Cork, found there were 38 maternal deaths nationally between 2009 and 2012.

Ten were classified as direct maternal deaths, ie due to obstetric causes.

The 2014 report from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said Ireland’s maternal mortality rate is nine deaths per 100,000 live births. That figure is higher than 30 other countries worldwide, with 25 countries in Europe having a lower maternal mortality rate.

Ms Fitzpatrick is survived by her husband, parents and her 3 children with local priest Fr Brendan Howard commenting:

“ To her husband, parents and family, the event is a nightmare from which they would hope to awaken. The suddenness of Tracey’s passing leaves us all stunned by grief.”



Keith Rolls Partner Coleman Legal LLP

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