Woman dies giving birth at hospital

By Martin Johnston

A woman has died while giving birth at Auckland City Hospital.

The Auckland District Health Board's chief medical officer, Dr David Sage, confirmed yesterday that the woman died at the hospital on Tuesday and expressed the deepest sympathies to her family.

He said the death had been referred to the coroner and he could not make any further comments.

Maternal deaths during pregnancy or childbirth or in the weeks afterwards are very rare.

The Weekend Herald understands that the baby survived and was not the woman's first child.

It is also understood that the woman had a medical condition which the staff involved in the birth were not previously aware of.

In 2006, the latest year for which statistics have been published, there were 14 maternal deaths nationally.

Of those, six were found to have been directly related to pregnancy or birth, and eight were "indirect" maternal deaths including four suicides.

The Auckland coroners are also considering an earlier maternal death at Auckland City Hospital.

Renee Bayliss, a first-time mother, died on January 26 last year from severe bleeding during childbirth. Blood had not been put aside for her, despite her specific request. Her baby daughter Allix survived.

The hospital admitted that her death was preventable.

Ms Bayliss was admitted to hospital on December 31, 2007, with pre-eclampsia, a serious condition that can involve high blood pressure. Her placenta was also found to be at risk of causing problems, including bleeding following birth.

After an investigation into Ms Bayliss' death, the hospital said it had implemented recommendations including setting up a new process for obtaining emergency blood, improving handover procedures between staff and checking all pregnant women for risk of post-birth haemorrhage.

- NZ Herald

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