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Mum dies after birth.

Byline: Gareth Lightfoot

A housewife died because of an extremely rare complication during childbirth, an inquest heard.

Pauleen Smith, 31, of Seymour Hill Terrace, Loftus, suffered a cardiac arrest as she was about to give birth to her third child at Scarborough Hospital on March 5.

Home Office pathologist James Sunter told an inquest the arrest was most likely caused by a natural but rare and catastrophic reaction to amniotic fluid, which surrounds the foetus, entering her bloodstream in labour.

This set a tragic chain of events into motion, he said at Teesside Coroners' Court yesterday.

The arrest caused brain injury which led to the immediate cause of death - a combination of infections of the lungs and kidneys.

Dr Andrew Booth, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Scarborough Hospital, said the amniotic fluid embolism was "a very rare complication".

Consultant anaesthetist Dr Timothy Adams agreed it was the most likely cause and it had a high mortality rate.

Mrs Smith was rushed into emergency theatre and the baby was delivered. She was transferred to the James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, on March 13.

But, consultant neonatalist Jonathan Wyllie said the baby boy died after a matter of days. He said brain damage caused by his mother's arrest was so severe it would have made life impossible.

The spontaneous event during labour effectively left Mrs Smith in a persistent vegetative state, said assistant deputy coroner Anthony Eastwood.

Despite efforts to keep her comfortable and visits by specialists, her condition deteriorated and she died on July 19.

The coroner recorded a verdict of natural causes.
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Title Annotation:News Local
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Nov 2, 2004
Words:262
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