London

'Serious failures' caused death of mother at Queen's

A coroner has highlighted "serious failures"' which contributed to the death of a woman after she gave birth at an east London hospital.

Violet Stephens, 35, died in April last year at Queen's Hospital in Romford hours after her son was delivered by Caesarean-section.

Tebussum Ali and her baby died at the same hospital three months earlier.

The hospital has apologised and said it had recruited more than 100 extra midwives and more consultants.

'Serious failures'

Mrs Stephens had gone to the hospital complaining of chest problems.

She died of multiple organ failure.

The inquest found that she should have been given a blood transfusion earlier and that serious failures between consultants meant she had not given birth earlier.

Expert witnesses said the ward was working at peak, which led to delays in treatment, tests and communication.

Her sister, Kitty Mhango said: "She just wanted a blood pressure check. She never came out."

In the case of Ms Ali the coroner had returned a neglect verdict.

It was similarly found that she should have had a blood transfusion earlier than she did.

Mrs Stephens' solicitor, Sarah Harman, has taken legal proceedings on behalf of 20 maternity patients from the hospital.

She said: "I'm very very pleased that the coroner gave such a far- reaching verdict and hope that things are going to improve in Queen's because I have now represented so many women who have had very poor care at that hospital."

She added: "In the 21st Century we should just not have care of that standard."

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) reviewed the hospital following the patients' deaths and found "serious problems".

The hospital said it was determined to learn from Mrs Stephens' death and had employed more staff members.

It said things were beginning to improve.

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