A mother of two died from sepsis shortly after going into labour when she was just three months pregnant.
Doctors failed to perform a medical termination on Reeta Saidha, 38, when it became clear she was miscarrying, a coroner heard.
Lawyers for Saidha’s grieving family argue that not removing the foetus led to her contracting the deadly disease and constituted a failing of care.
She was just 15 weeks pregnant when her waters broke last year.
After being admitted into the gynaecology ward in Basildon Hospital, Essex, she was told to wait between 24 and 48 hours for a natural miscarriage before the doctors would consider surgery.
Saidha began to develop sepsis while her condition deteriorated and she was rushed into surgery to remove the foetus. She was put on life support in the intensive care unit but died a day later.
A senior doctor, Shaheen Mannan, who monitored Saidha’s condition from December , said surgery at an earlier stage was too risky because she had previously had caesarean sections.
Dr Mannan said: ‘I told her that there was natural management and surgical management and discussed the risk of continuing without surgical termination.
‘She said she did not want a child with a poor outcome and she agreed to natural termination straight away. Surgical management at that time is extremely risky because she was only 15 weeks pregnant and we are not trained to do surgery at that time because the surgery is so advanced.
‘She was not in pain and nothing had changed since she was admitted and when I spoke to her she had no complaints.’ Saidha’s husband, Booshan, 41, said: ‘When she was first admitted she was not experiencing any pain. I was still of the mindset that this is all to do with the labour pains. Sepsis was not mentioned to me once at this stage.
‘We thought that we were in the doctors’ hands and that this was all the way forward.
‘She kept saying to me, “I love you and I love the family”. It was not normal but I now know that one of the symptoms of sepsis is that you feel like you are going to die.
‘My whole world has been flipped upside down now because of things that should have been done.’
The fact Saidha’s case was not flagged as ‘urgent’ during a shift change also contributed to her death, her family allege.
Dr Neerja Gupta was the on-call consultant in the gynaecology ward. She told the inquest that on this ‘particularly complex and busy day’, she had not known of Saidha’s deterioration until three hours after the initial sepsis diagnosis.
‘I was not aware that she was diagnosed with sepsis until 4pm and I think it would be appropriate to have been told about Reeta’s condition at about 1.15pm,’ she said.
However, Dr Gupta did not go and personally examine Saidha after being made aware of her worsening state because of a more desperate case on the floor.
‘It did not inform me about the urgency of seeing Saidha,’ Dr Sahare said.