Gloucester swine flu mother remains in coma

Leanne Gunnell
Image caption Ms Gunnell was six-and-a-half months pregnant when she fell ill

A 21-year-old woman remains seriously ill in hospital after contracting swine flu while pregnant.

Leanne Gunnell suffered brain damage when doctors at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital put her into a coma to save her unborn child.

Faith was delivered by caesarean weighing 3lb (1.4kg) and is expected to be sent home soon but her grandparents fear her mother will never recover.

A hospital spokesman said it would review in detail what had happened.

'Lungs damaged'

The six-and-a-half-month pregnant receptionist had gone to her doctors with a cold, was told she had a virus and given antibiotics. She was not tested for swine flu.

Four days later her parents Simon and Sharon Gunnell, from Gloucester, took her to see an out-of-hours GP and was given the same diagnosis.

The next day she was taken to hospital coughing up blood and it was feared she had pneumonia.

Doctors found her lungs were badly damaged and there was little chance of her and the baby surviving.

They said the best chance was to put her into a coma and deliver the baby at 28 weeks.

Days after the birth on 30 November Mr and Mrs Gunnell were told their daughter had tested positive for swine flu and initial tests suggested she had suffered brain damage.

"Leanne did pick up but then suffered two heart attacks and then took another turn for the worst," Mr Gunnell said.

Seven weeks after giving birth, the 21-year-old remains in a coma and her parents are awaiting further tests for brain damage.

Both parents said the treatment their daughter and granddaughter had been receiving at the hospital was first class.

Dr Mike Roberts, acting medical director for NHS Gloucestershire, said: "We are very sorry that the patient concerned remains very poorly.

"We would encourage the family members to make contact so we can look into their concerns.

"It is important to stress that a patient's symptoms can change and develop from day to day and so we would want to review in detail what happened on this occasion."

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