An inquest heard that a mother who died giving birth to her second child after previously undergoing a C-section made the choice to give birth naturally purely on the basis of “advice” from medical professionals.
In March 2021, environmental engineer Lucy Howell, 32, died at Royal Hampshire County Hospital from complications.
Given her “unique” medical background, her husband Matthew said at the inquest yesterday that Mrs. Howell “wrestled” with the choice of having a c-section or vaginal birth.
He said that his “loving” wife only persisted in her desire for a normal birth because she “had been told” that it was secure.
The pair had “inconsistencies” in the medical advice they were given during Mrs. Howell’s second pregnancy, the inquest heard.
The Winchester Coroner’s Court hearing was informed that Mrs. Howell had previously undergone a cesarean section for the birth of her first daughter, Rosie, in February 2017, necessitating surgery following.
Mr. Howell outlined how ‘very painful’ his wife’s recuperation from the treatment was. One year later, she was still experiencing cramps and discomfort so severe she had given it the moniker “Frank.” She had “hardly left the sofa” throughout that time.
When she saw her general practitioner, Renee Behrens, a specialist gynecologist at The Royal Hampshire County Hospital, was finally recommended to her after spotting a niche that required treatment.
Ms. Behrens informed the hearing that the niche required laparoscopic rather than a more straightforward hysteroscopic operation in order to be treated.
During this time, Mrs. Howell was also advised not to give birth naturally when she became pregnant again by a consultant, but the doctor’s advice was “forgotten” when delivery arrangements were formed.
Mr. Howell said that his wife became pregnant in July 2020, more than a year after Mr. Shaheen Khazali performed the surgery, and that the covid anemia prevented him from attending several prenatal sessions.
She would have chosen a vaginal delivery due to how painful and difficult her c-section recovery had been, he added.
She said, though, that she was only looking for the safest option.
But, during the delivery of Pippa, Mrs. Howell’s second daughter, she experienced a rupture, and although the infant lived, the mother perished suddenly.
She had never received any warning that a VBAC, or vaginal birth after a prior cesarean, would be risky, according to Mr. Howell.
He expressed his worry to the court about the “poor information” provided to them both regarding the hazards.
She was aware that there was danger, but the specialists assured her that after one c-section, her risk was no greater than that of any other woman. This knowledge helped her make her decision.
“I know she wouldn’t have wanted to try a vaginal birth after cesarean if a consultant thought it would be safer,” I added.
The court heard text exchanges between Mr. and Mrs. Howell, in which she claimed to have “wrestled” with the choice of delivery mode and claimed to feel “selfish” for favoring a natural birth because she was concerned about what may go wrong.
They chose to heed the advice offered after Mr. Howell comforted her.
He said at the inquiry that he had further worries about the care his wife received while she was pregnant, particularly the difficulty she experienced in getting medical personnel to “understand” the specialized surgical repair she had had.
The father of two testified before the court that she was assured that earlier procedures only had “minimal extra risks” during a checkup in January 2021. – Dailymail