Daily Mail

Hospital bid to shield surgeon suspected of giving tragic mum herpes

- By Danya Bazaraa

THE family of a new mother who died of herpes after potentiall­y being infected by her surgeon have accused an NHS trust of causing them more ‘pain and grief’ by delaying the inquest.

Kimberley Sampson, 29, died in May 2018 after giving birth by caesarean at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, Kent.

Her death is being investigat­ed alongside that of Samantha Mulcahy, who died six weeks later after the same surgeon delivered her baby by caesarean at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, Kent. Both hospitals are run by East Kent Hospitals University NHS Trust (EKHUT).

Their families have been waiting almost five years for an inquest. It

‘This has added to our pain and grief’

had been due to begin on Monday but at the last minute the trust sought reporting restrictio­ns.

It applied for a court order prohibitin­g the naming of the surgeon and a midwife involved in both cases until the inquest has concluded – a move opposed by the Press and the families’ lawyers.

On Tuesday, coroner Catherine Wood delayed the hearing until April to consider applicatio­ns from both sides, saying to the families she was ‘terribly sorry’.

Yesterday, as lawyers for the families argued against the applicatio­n at a pre-inquest hearing, relatives held their heads in their hands and one burst into tears.

Afterwards, Ms Sampson’s mother Yvette Sampson accused the trust of being keener to protect itself than to provide answers for the families.

She said in a statement: ‘ We thought that the time was coming for us to finally get answers.

‘It’s difficult to find the words to describe what’s happened over the last few days.

‘ The most important thing should have been to establish how two young mums died and how their children have been left without their mummies.

‘However, instead it feels like the trust has been more focused on protecting itself.

‘These legal arguments should have been concluded way in advance of this week but instead the trust submitted a request on the eve of the hearing.

‘These actions have just added to the pain and grief we feel.’

Anna Vroobel, a medical negligence lawyer representi­ng Ms Sampson’s family, said the trust’s latest behaviour followed findings of last year’s Kirkup review into maternity services at the EKHUT which highlighte­d how it buried problems in an attempt to preserve its reputation. The report uncovered a decade of serious failings and substandar­d care.

Dr Anton Van Dellen, for Ms Mulcahy’s mother Nicola Foster, said the trust’s conduct had been ‘disgracefu­l’ and blamed its management. Speaking on behalf of the Sampson family, Jemma Lee also said the trust had displayed the same ‘wholly lamentable conduct’ as previous inquests.

EKHUT’s lawyer Clodagh Bradley said: ‘If the surgeon is now named and the evidence showed that he was not responsibl­e for infecting those women, he will for ever be connected to that case... in a way that can never be remedied.’

The coroner will make a decision on the applicatio­n for anonymity next Tuesday, with the full inquest due in April.

 ?? ?? Caesarean: Kimberley Sampson died after giving birth
Caesarean: Kimberley Sampson died after giving birth

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