Today Andre Evans will farewell his pregnant partner Daile Eden and their unborn daughter Mia-Rose. Laura Basham reports on a tragedy that has a wider public message.
An eight-months pregnant Nelson mother and her unborn daughter have died a day after she sought medical help, leaving her family questioning her care.
Daile Eden, 24, who was discharged from Nelson Hospital on Monday last week and saw her GP on Thursday, was found dead in bed at home on Friday morning.
Her family say an autopsy shows she died of pneumonia, and her unborn daughter with her, and they want answers.
"Nothing is going to bring her back but we want to stop it happening to anybody else," her older brother Steffan Eden said.
Ms Eden's partner Andre Evans' heartfelt message to others battling similar flu-like illness, especially pregnant mothers, is: "Just double check with your doctors or get a second opinion - ask questions. I don't wish this on anyone, not my worst enemy."
He is mourning the loss not just of his fun-loving partner and mother of their 3-year-old son Dakota but also the daughter they had named Mia-Rose, due to be born on October 24.
Mia-Rose, with mousy brown curly hair, lies wrapped in a blanket in her mother's arms in the same coffin and the pair will be farewelled at a service tomorrow afternoon.
The couple and Dakota lived with Ms Eden's mother, Rewa Eden, at Stoke.
Mrs Eden said her daughter was sick last Sunday and Mr Evans took her to Nelson Hospital where they rehydrated her and she went home on Monday afternoon.
"She had been given antibiotics the week before but they said she didn't need them because it was a virus," said Mrs Eden.
On Wednesday Mrs Eden ducked home at lunchtime from work at Bunnings to check on her daughter who had said she felt weak and had had a fall.
On Thursday, Mr Evans, 28, a tyre technician, had a day off work and took her to Nelson Family Medicine in Collingwood St because she was still feeling unwell.
He said they found her chest was clear and her heart was good but showed her how to slow down her breathing to stop her hyperventilating.
On Thursday night he slept in the lounge so their sleep would be less disrupted.
Mrs Eden offered her bed to her daughter to help her sleep while she bunked down with Dakota and got up at 11pm and again at 4am to help take Ms Eden to the toilet and have a drink of water.
"I said to her, ‘Your fingernails are very, very blue'. She said, ‘Shall we go to A and E?' I said, ‘Leave it till we get up'.
"I heard my alarm go off at two minutes to seven like it always does, and I went in there to turn it off." Instantly she saw her daughter was dead. "It's unreal to look at your daughter lying on the bed seeing there's nobody home."
Mrs Eden said the blueness in her daughter's fingernails meant she was not getting enough oxygen. "I would have thought they would have picked up on it but you leave it to the medical experts to make those calls."
She received a letter from the GP practice manager, Sharon Brinsdon, on Friday acknowledging there would be a full investigation as to the cause of death and that they would be giving their full co-operation with access to clinical notes and anything else required.
Mrs Eden said the letter left more questions than answers, and she would be seeking answers.
On Friday night Mr Evans told their little boy that mummy had gone to heaven, and tomorrow, following a service to celebrate her life, family and friends will gather at Speights Ale House to toast the woman who "lived her life to the fullest", he said.
The couple, who met at a friend's 21st birthday, shared a love of speedway, with Mr Evans racing stockcars and "petrolhead" Ms Eden photographing them. He intends to continue racing, saying: "She'd do backflips if I didn't."
Her older sister, Jackie, describes her as a fantastic mum, who had everything ready for her new daughter.
Mr Evans said her death meant he would need to be stronger. "It means I'm going to be a mother and a father now."
Nelson CIB has investigated the sudden death as part of a normal process. There was nothing suspicious and it would be up to coroner Chris Davenport to determine the cause of death, said Detective Senior Sergeant Wayne McCoy.
Ms Brinsdon said the medical centre staff were devastated.
All the medical professionals both at the centre and the hospital involved in her care would be part of the investigation. The coronial investigation was the only way for questions to be handled, she said.
Nelson Marlborough District Health Board chief executive Chris Fleming said: "Our condolences are with the Eden family in what is an extremely tragic time. We will review all care provided by Nelson Hospital to identify if there were any contributing factors which could have been avoided. We will be open and share any findings with the family."
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