Swine flu killed pregnant mum and baby

Last updated 15:58 18/03/2014

Immunisation might have prevented pregnant mother Daile Eden from contracting swine flu, says a coroner who has investigated the death of the 24 year old and her unborn baby daughter.

However, while Eden was offered the influenza vaccine, she had declined it.

Eden, 34 weeks pregnant, died from the effects of severe influenza A H1N1 at her Stoke home on Friday, September 20 last year despite seeking medical help.

She had been discharged from Nelson Hospital the previous Monday and had seen her GP the day before her death.

Coroner Chris Davenport did not hold a public hearing, and instead held "a hearing on the paper" and made a chambers finding at Hastings.

Eden had been expecting her second child, who she and partner Andre Evans had named Mia-Rose.

The coroner's findings said that in May Eden went to the Nelson Family Medicine practice in Collingwood St after several weeks of a persistent cough and a hoarse voice, and was treated for infective asthma.

In September, after a week of feeling unwell, her midwife advised her to see a doctor. She saw Dr Jennifer Cooper on September 13 who wrote a prescription for the antibiotic, amoxicillin, for her to take if she developed worsening fevers or cough. Dr Cooper urged Eden to seek medical attention if her condition deteriorated.

Because there was a whooping cough problem in Nelson, Dr Cooper recommended she be vaccinated against pertussis and also asked if she had been offered the flu jab. Eden said she had previously been offered it but declined.

She again saw Dr Cooper on September 15 because the afternoon before she had vomited five times, was tired, had sore legs, chest discomfort on coughing and she felt her foetal movements had reduced.

Dr Cooper diagnosed Eden with flu and she was admitted to Nelson Hospital where she was given panadol, intravenous fluids and medication for nausea.

She was discharged from hospital at 1pm on September 16.

However, she returned to Nelson Family Medicine on Thursday morning when she was hyperventilating and was given a brown paper bag to breathe into.

Dr Dawson confirmed she was suffering flu, compounded by being heavily pregnant, but could return home, with some medication and advice.

That evening she continued hyperventilating and was checked on by her mother, Rewa Eden three times, the last at 4am when she was helped to the toilet and given a glass of orange juice.

Her breathing was hard, with her fingers and lips blue. She suggested going back to ED but her mother replied they would wait and see how she was in the morning. At 7am her mother found her dead in bed; her unborn baby had also died.

The coroner said he was satisfied that a flu jab might have prevented Eden contracting that strain of the flu, but also that being prescribed Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) within two days of the onset of symptoms might have protected her against complications. However, at that stage there appeared no clinical need for it.

- Nelson

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