“We couldn’t have asked for a better daughter”: Family’s tribute to young mum Sarah as inquest into Blackpool Vic death ends

Sarah Taylor
Sarah Taylor
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An inquest into the death of young mum Sarah Taylor heard opportunities to help her were missed.

Ms Taylor, 30, of Fenton Road, Blackpool, developed a fatal infection days after giving birth.

Sarah Taylor

Sarah Taylor

An inquest at Blackpool town hall was told she did not have signs of a dangerous group A streptococcus infection, which led to sepsis, when she was discharged from Blackpool Victoria Hospital on April 10 2018, one day after giving birth.

But her health deteriorated in the days that followed and two phone calls were made seeking medical help before she was rushed back to hospital with severe pain and breathing problems. She died on April 18.

Independent expert Dr Malcolm Griffiths said the calls were “missed opportunities” but could not say whether her death was preventable.

Sarah’s father Raymond Taylor, 68, today paid tribute to his daughter.

Blackpool Vic

Blackpool Vic

He said: “She was very outgoing. She got on with life. She was very friendly and always had a lot of friends.

“She was very, very funny. She had my sense of humour.

“She liked music and dancing. We couldn’t have asked for a better daughter. We loved her to bits.”

At the three-day inquest, the court heard how Ms Taylor, a fast food worker, had tried to reach out for medical help on April 16, two days before her death.

Licensing cases were heard at the Town Hall

Licensing cases were heard at the Town Hall

She had been admitted to Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s maternity ward on April 9, where she gave birth to a healthy baby girl.

The following day she was examined by junior doctor Stella Ogala-Echojoh, who order tests including an ECG.

However, Ms Taylor was discharged that day without receiving her ECG test, which measures heart activity.

No concerns were raised about her health at a post-natal appointment for her baby, Sienna, on April 11.

Ms Taylor’s partner, Wayne Wilsdon, said she suffered from lethargy, back pain and sickness on April 12 and 13.

Over the next few days her condition worsened, and on April 16 Mr Wilsdon tried to call their GP at South King Street Medical Centre, but received an automated message.

On the same day Ms Taylor made a call to the community midwife centre and spoke to what her family believed was a midwife, who she said reassured her that her symptoms were “part and parcel of giving birth”.

However, Dawn Goodall, representing Blackpool Hospitals Trust, said the woman Ms Taylor spoke to was in fact a maternity assistant and was not a qualified healthcare professional.

Dr Griffiths said: “It seems to me there have been two missed opportunities. One is the phone call to the help line. The other is the call to the GP.

“I don’t know if I can put a figure on what her chance of survival would have been at any point, but it seems to me the earlier it might have been, the more likely it would have made a difference.”

He also criticised the hospital’s failure to carry out the test that had been ordered by Dr Ogala-Echojoh – but added that they were unlikely to have picked up on any signs of strep A, and that a more senior doctor may not have ordered the tests done at all.

Ms Taylor collapsed in the bathroom of her home in the early hours of April 17.

She was taken by ambulance to Blackpool Victoria Hospital, by which time, Dr Griffiths said, she had a less than 40 per cent chance of survival. She died the following day of streptococcal sepsis from childbirth.

Her funeral took place the following month at Carleton Crematorium, and was attended by around 300 devastated family members and friends.

Mr Taylor said: “The family took it very badly. She’s very sadly missed. We’re getting on as best we can.”

Her friend Aithne McCord said: “I never stopped laughing when she was around and I’ll miss the fun times we had together.”

Dr James Grey, consultant microbiologist at Birmingham Women’s NHS Trust, said in a statement provided to coroner Alan Wilson that the treatment Ms Taylor received upon arrival at the hospital on April 17 was appropriate.

He also said it was unlikely that symptoms of streptococcal sepsis were present on April 9, when Ms Taylor gave birth. Dr Griffiths agreed.

The inquest heard how changes had been made at the midwife centre to ensure all callers are able to speak to a qualified midwife if necessary.

Steps were also taken to improve communication at Blackpool Vic’s maternity ward.

Handing down a conclusion of natural causes, coroner Alan Wilson said Ms Taylor had an “uneventful pregnancy” but her health later deteriorated.

Addressing her parents and partner, he added: “The circumstances of this case are particularly difficult I’m sure, for you as a family.”

Petition set up in memory of Sarah

Sarah’s brother, Craig, has now set up an online petition urging hospitals to provide leaflets about sepsis to all women who have given birth, and other high risk groups.

He wrote: “I recently lost my amazing sister to sepsis within a fortnight after giving birth to a beautiful girl.

“I believe providing a short leaflet outlining the common symptoms and emergency contacts should be provided to every women after birth and be readily available to high risk groups.

“I have permanently lost a part of me, a void that won’t ever be filled over a horrible infection which a course of antibiotics could have prevented. I don’t ever want another family to experience what our family have endured.”

The petition can be found at www.change.org/p/uk-parliament-provide-a-leaflet-about-sepsis-to-all-women-who-have-given-birth-and-high-risk-groups