Bishop's Waltham mum died giving birth to child after not being properly warned of natural delivery risks - with widow saying 'pain is unimaginable'

A MUM died giving birth to her second child after not being properly warned about the risks of delivering naturally, a coroner has been told.

By Steve Deeks
Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 1:54 pm

Environmental engineer Lucy Howell had a caesarean for the birth of her eldest daughter Rosie which required special surgery to repair.

However, when the 32-year-old went into labour with new baby Pippa four years later she tried to have a natural birth.

Tragically she suffered a rupture during the delivery and, while her daughter survived, she passed away.

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Pictured: Lucy Howell with her daughter Rosie © Family/Solent News & Photo Agency

Now her family are demanding answers from the NHS, saying she was given ‘conflicting’ advice about the risks of a natural delivery.

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It is hoped a full inquest will establish whether she would have survived if she had chosen an alternative mode of birth - such as a C-section.

But the coroner criticised the health service trust involved, saying it has not yet given a 'candid' explanation of what happened.

The pre-inquest review was told Mrs Howell, of Bishop’s Waltham, went into labour in March 2021 and was admitted to Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester to be induced.

However, her uterus ruptured during the delivery and the baby was then born in her stomach.

Despite attempts to resuscitate her, she died on March 12.

Mrs Howell’s family were told that the post-mortem gave the cause of death as a uterine rupture and amniotic fluid embolism.

An investigation was then launched by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The hearing was told that following the birth of her first daughter in 2017 Mrs Howell had to have surgery to repair scarring.

Her family believe this may have made her vulnerable to having a natural delivery and have questioned the advice she was given ahead of the birth of Pippa.

Winchester Coroner’s Court heard it is disputed whether Mrs Howell was given sufficient information to make an informed decision on whether she should have given birth naturally having had a C-section previously.

Area Coroner Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp said she now has questions about Mrs Howell’s antenatal care, her labour and whether Mrs Howell was given sufficient information to make an informed decision.

‘The advice given is not huge to women who've had a caesarean,’ she said. ‘This was a rare situation. There are issues regarding the management of the labour.

‘The starting point is: should there have been a labour and who said what to whom. The second issue is: was the labour managed appropriately given the risk?

Mrs Howell's widower Matthew - who is bringing up their two daughters alone - said: ‘The shock and pain of Lucy's death has been unimaginable.

‘She was a devoted mother and a wonderful person who is sorely missed every day by so many people.

‘Lucy’s family and I have many questions about the circumstances surrounding Lucy’s death. We hope that the inquest will help provide us with answers to those questions.’

The full inquest will be held later this year.

A fundraiser for a memorial at Winnall Moors nature reserve in Winchester - where Mrs Howell enjoyed taking her daughter - raised more than £10,000, well above the target of £3,000.

Mrs Howell worked at consultancy agency Soils Limited as a health and safety co-ordinator and geo-environmental engineer after joining as a graduate in 2011.