Hackney mum died after authorities forbid termination

Poplar Coroners Court

Poplar Coroners Court - Credit: Archant

A mother whose waters broke four months early whilst on holiday in France was forbidden by the courts there to have a termination, and died of septic shock six days later.

Postmortem results for Ainhoa Osaba Hernandez - whose internal organs had been taken out of her body when she was repatriated - have still not been sent over from Nice, nine months after her death.

The interior designer was in Cannes with her financier husband Mark Taylor and their two-year-old daughter when her waters broke on the way to the airport on June 11 last year.

An inquest into the 35-year-old Columbian’s death at Poplar Coroner’s Court heard how the pair requested a termination, but the French courts refused because the 20-week-old baby had a heartbeat.

Medics at the Centre d’hospitalier, avenue de Cannes, put her on antibiotics, but six days later she developed a high fever and her baby was delivered stillborn. Within the space of four hours she was under cardiac arrest.

French doctors put her death down to the rare condition amniotic embolism - an allergic shock where the baby’s cells enter the mother’s blood stream.

But Professor Sebastian Lucas who performed an autopsy in London, said test results came back positive for the superbug E. coli ESBL and blood tests showed a high level of sepsis.

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He told the court the signs pointed to a “severe” and “very rapidly progressing” sepsis.

He said: “I’ll discuss the findings, or rather the lack of findings because as you well know the body was empty.

“The French clinicians said they were surprised how quickly it happened but it doesn’t surprise me, this sepsis can be incredibly fast.”

Mr Taylor, who lived with his wife in Northchurch Road, said: “I know you can’t do medicine through the internet but you only have to look at your phone for two minutes for it to say the primary risk at this point is getting an infection that can come along very quickly and be fatal within 24 hours. I said that on 10-15 occasions and I was told: ‘You shouldn’t look at the internet and you don’t know what you are talking about’, and ultimately that is what killed her.”

Prof Lucas replied: “That’s absolutely right, and as you well know, it would not happen in England and Wales and Scotland, no one in the UK would keep an evidently dead baby following rupture of membranes for six days, but it is the complexity of how to manage the complexities of miscarriages in the second trimester, and the legal obstacles to termination.”

Coroner Mary Hassell concluded Mrs Osaba Hernandez died of natural causes.

She said: “I appreciate that none of this seems natural at all, but I haven’t had any detailed exploration of the clinical course in the way I would like to.”