Natalie Akoorie

Natalie Akoorie is a reporter at the NZ Herald based in Hamilton.

Death during childbirth third in family

Norman Gayo has help looking after his daughter Kyla and baby son Leandro. Photo / Natalie Slade
Norman Gayo has help looking after his daughter Kyla and baby son Leandro. Photo / Natalie Slade

Norman Gayo doesn't blame anybody for the death of his healthy young wife, Leah, who died in childbirth at Auckland City Hospital in April.

Mrs Gayo's case was one of 489 serious adverse events which happened in the country's hospitals and health providers in the past year.

The 32-year-old was at the end of a routine pregnancy when she arrived at the hospital on April 20 to deliver her second child. But the Filipino went into cardiac arrest following artificial rupture of the membranes during labour.

There was a prolonged resuscitation attempt, but Mrs Gayo suffered a stroke and her son Leandro had to be delivered by emergency caesarean. Doctors believe an amniotic fluid embolism probably led to Mrs Gayo's death.

Last night Mr Gayo said he missed his wife, a former school teacher, and life was very different.

"Sometimes I cry when I remember my wife."

Friends had advised him to make a complaint against the hospital, but family told him to concentrate on his children instead.

"My wife was the third person in the family who died in the same situation. Her grandmother, her father's sister and my wife all died during childbirth. I accept what happened. It's difficult for me, but this is the reality now and I have to move on."

The 39-year-old Auckland baker said he had returned from the Philippines last month, where he buried his wife, and was working part-time. He has help looking after Leandro and the couple's daughter Kyla, 10.

- NZ Herald

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