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Woman 'brainwashed' into home birth, inquest hears

A woman who was so anxious about giving birth she hired a private midwife bled to death after her placenta was “ripped out”, an inquest heard.

Claire Teague, 29, hired independent midwife Rosie Kacary when she became pregnant for the second time in 2009 after she had lost one of her twins during an emergency caesarean section earlier that year.

Mrs Teague, of Woodley, near Reading, had been planning to give birth at Basingstoke Hospital but on the advice of the midwife opted for a home birth, Windsor Coroner’s Court was told.

But following the birth in the early hours of August 1 2010, she began to feel unwell, complained of being in pain and started bleeding heavily, the hearing was told.

She was rushed to hospital by ambulance where doctors found a third of her placenta had not been removed, causing a massive haemorrhage.

Surgeons tried to stop the bleeding but she died later that day.

At an inquest into her death, Mrs Teague’s husband Simon said his wife had been “brainwashed” into having a home birth by the midwife, who reassured her it was completely safe.

But the father-of-two, whose baby boy survived the birth, told the hearing he watched his wife’s placenta being “ripped out” in an “aggressive manner” when the midwife found she could not remove it normally.

He said: “I was anxious when Rosie started to pull the placenta out. She pulled the cord six or seven times in an aggressive manner.

“Eventually the placenta came out with a lot of force and tugging.”

Mr Teague told the hearing how he was told his wife had suffered a minor tear, but Ms Kacary said it was not serious enough to need a suture.

The midwife, who examined the placenta by torchlight as the room was dark and the curtains were closed, told him there were bits of membrane left inside her, but reassured him they would come out naturally, the inquest was told.

However, once the midwife had left, Mrs Teague began feeling weak and complaining she was in pain.

The midwife reassured Mr Teague it was normal following birth, but after repeated contact she eventually returned to the house to find the young mother had stopped breathing.

Mrs Teague suffered a massive bleed in the ambulance and was taken to the Royal Berkshire Hospital, where doctors found 30% of her placenta had not been removed. Mr Teague said: “When we were in the hospital she came up to me and she said, ‘I should have stayed longer shouldn’t I’.

“I now think if she had stayed longer she could have done something about it.”

Giving evidence at the hearing, Ms Kacary said she was horrified at the suggestion she had forcefully tugged Mrs Teague’s umbilical cord.

The midwife, who qualified in 1998 and became self-employed in 2003, told the hearing: “I could never and would never inflict that violence on anyone.

“Simon’s description was really quite horrific. I certainly don’t remember that.

“If I had pulled that hard I would have damaged the cord and I think it would have ruptured Claire’s uterus.

“It would be completely alien for me to behave in that way.”

Ms Kacary said the placenta appeared “ragged” when she removed it, but she did not realise it was not whole.

“I thought it looked complete, it looked fine,” she added.

Defending her decision to leave her patient and go home, Ms Kacary said the birth had been “lovely” and raised no concerns whatsoever.

She will resume her evidence today.

Readers' comments (9)

  • What a very sad happening.

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  • And bad publicity, as this one was in today's press.

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  • I feel so sorry for this family and i am not a midwife and do not want to believe in the word 'brainwashed', maybe be encouraged to go for it and as an health care proffessional we offer patients the options and also help them choose or make the right decision, may her soul rest in perfect peace and may all the family be comforted

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  • Florence

    This is very sad for all concerned. my heart goes out to the family. This is a sad reminder that even with the most skilled healthcare things can go wrong. While the incidences of injury and death in both Mother and Baby are thankfully rare now . Sadly these will never be eliminated completed.
    Im not a Midwife so Im not even certain I should be commenting here.I have a son who was delivered by a C-Section. Our care was brilliant.
    The Midwife must have made a very difficult but well considered decision to reccomend a home birth for this Lady. Given her obststeric history the Midwife must have very closely monitored this Lady.
    Sadly things can go wrong even in what appears to be a straight forward pregnancy and labour.
    Four years ago my Sister in law - Nadine gave birth to my Niece.
    Nadine was 29 years old at the time.It was her second pregnancy. She had Gestational Diabetes in her first and this pregnancy. Her first Daughter was 9lbs at birth. Her labour was a tough but not prolonged or difficult.
    For Hannahs delivery Nadine was booked in at the consultant Unit due to the Gestational Diabetes and the chance that her baby may be larger due to that.
    During this labour, with Hannah, it became apparent that she was struggling.
    The Midwives did everything they could to facilitate a vaginal delivery. They alerted the Obstetricians that she was struggling and needed a C- Section. However the Obstetricians would not carry out a C- Section.
    Hannah was born weighing nearly 10 lbs! She was delivered after sustaining a shoulder dystocia. She now has speech difficulties due to lack of oxygen at birth.
    Nadine did not complain about her care.
    The Trust spontaneously apologised to Nadine and offered to meet with her. They admitted that she should have been given a C-Section.
    I share the story as it illustrates how quickly things can go wrong and how not all problems can be anticipated. Ok they could have anticipated a higher birth weight but that doesnt automatically mean the woman will need a C- Section.
    I have a great deal of respect for Midwives. They carry out a hugely skilled role.The contribution is widely understated and underestimated.
    The story of Claire is so terribly sad. May she rest in peace .

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  • Latterlife Midwife

    This is an absolutely horrible event and my condolences go to Mrs. Teague's family. I have dozens of questions! It's so easy to second-guess and spontaneously place blame in the knowledge that it would never have happened to me... But the truth is, it could happen to anyone, and we must all learn from it!

    Saying that, there were warning signs that must have existed so her death should never have happened had the job of midwife been done properly!

    First, having had a previous C/S, this woman should not have been offered a home birth for several reasons. Did Mrs. Teague ask for one, insist on one, or was it offered to her, or maybe even strongly suggested to her?

    Second, I'd like to know how long the midwife stayed after the birth?

    Third, Mrs. Teague's perineum was apparently not examined well enough with just a torch. The updated article says she had a severe tear. It was likely still bleeding, if only a trickle, or perhaps much bleeding was happening internally and causing increasing pain. Should have been further examined properly!

    Fourth, mum was complaining of pain; when was the first time, and was it appropriate pain? Another warning sign.

    Fifth, how could a placenta that was delivered with much difficulty be properly examined for completeness with again, only a torch? Did the midwife not take it into the kitchen to see properly?

    Sixth, if a third (a rather large chunk!) of the placenta was still retained, it would absolutely have been palpable to the midwife. Gentle palpation, if only to check on good uterine involution, must have been done. This would have revealed the need to firmly express the chunk, or move to hospital for manual removal.

    Seventh, I'd like to know of any previous queries into this midwife's professional practice?

    I'm sorry to be so gobby about his, but I am seriously upset that this poor family, who had already lost a twin in an earlier birth, has now lost their mother and wife. As this article was based on the husband's testimony, I look forward to hearing more details from others. If this is down to really poor professional practice, this must never be allowed to happen again.

    More details will probably become available at the Nursing & Midwifery Council website.

    From a UK Registered Midwife, and Registered Nurse

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  • King Vulture

    'Fifth, how could a placenta that was delivered with much difficulty be properly examined for completeness with again, only a torch? Did the midwife not take it into the kitchen to see properly?

    Sixth, if a third (a rather large chunk!) of the placenta was still retained, it would absolutely have been palpable to the midwife. Gentle palpation, if only to check on good uterine involution, must have been done. This would have revealed the need to firmly express the chunk, or move to hospital for manual removal.'

    As Laterlife Midwife points out, it isn't so much that things can go wrong, as to how those 2 can have happened, that leaps out when you read about this one - LM only firms up, my less expert immediate feeling that those 'bits of the story' look very strange.

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  • How sad for all...... in cluding the nursing & midwifery profession.
    th e one thing missing is that we make comments but none of us were there at the time - that midwife will have to live with the decisions she made & the family with their loss.
    The 3rd stage of labour is a real art in gterms of managing safely - get it wrong and you will always have consequences - no matter the place but at home - you are own your own.....................

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  • Its really shocking to see the attitude of midwives.My personal experience one month back has taught me that midwives really don't care about the way the person feels.In my case no PV examination was not done eventhough I requested the midwives to do and finally when the PV examination was done it was found to be fully dilated and I was being rushed to the labour room and so staff there also did not get enough time to prepare themselves.Sometimes its the casual attitude of the people which can put others life into danger and appropriate actions should be taken in such incidences because no-one can bring one person back to life if something goes wrong.Things go wrong when a person takes it for granted and no excuses can explain their casual attitude and negligence

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  • This is a very sad incidence. My condolences go to this family. Am a Registered General Nurse as well as a Registered Midwife. There are several warning signs in this case which would have been given serious consideration by this midwife. A placenta is examined in adequate lighting. She told the lady's husband that some membranes were still inside but will come out? All trained midwives are aware that retained products of conception interfere with uterine involution and can lead to PPH primary or secondary. PPH is one of the causes of maternal deaths which we cannot expect in a civilised country like ours. Food for thought.

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