October 2, 2022

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A pregnant woman and her baby died in hospital. The cause of sepsis?

‘CRP is growing’

Mr. Krzysztof and Mrs. Marta had been trying for a baby for several years. Twice, in the early stages of pregnancy, there was a miscarriage. The couple underwent a full diagnosis and qualified for the laboratory method. Unfortunately, these treatments also ended in failure. However, they did not lose hope, and in December 2021, Marta managed to get pregnant.

– It was a miracle. The most beautiful 3.5 months of our life – recalls Krzysztof Swinsky.

Three months later, Mrs. Marta began experiencing abdominal pain and tension. The woman was afraid of another miscarriage. The doctor in charge of pregnancy decided to place a suture in the woman’s cervix. It is a commonly used preventative method against premature birth. Two weeks later, Marta reported abdominal pain to the hospital.

The wife was connected to a CTG machine to monitor contractions. It was decided to transfer her from the department of pregnancy pathology to the delivery room. It was the twentieth week of pregnancy. Around 9 p.m., she called me from the delivery room. She said that the neonatologist will come to her in a moment – reports Krzysztof.

“I am in a lump and depending on whether there are contractions, I will give birth. (…) I have magnesium drops and an antibiotic because CRP is already growing. Yesterday I had CRP 1.2, today I have 18. When he is born, he simply won’t survive,” Marta said to her husband, which is documented in the recording.

CRP is a test that doctors use in medical diagnosis to see if a patient’s body is inflamed. Marta did it the day before she was admitted to the hospital and it was true at the time. CRP was also monitored in hospital and its level continued to rise. Because of the ongoing epidemic, Mr. Krzysztof could not be with his wife, but they were in contact by phone all the time.

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sedatives

Ms Marta was receiving medication and antibiotics, but alerted medical staff to more troublesome symptoms. At 6:20 pm, the midwife said, “The patient reported chills and feeling cold. Then the doctor ordered hydroxyzine to be given.”

All of these symptoms were related to the stress experienced by the patient on the ward. (…) Hydroxyzine is a sedative drug. We know very well that uterine tone can also be improved by stressing the patient – explains Dr. n. SUM Krzysztof Nowosielski, Physician in charge of the Departments of Gynecology, Obstetrics and Gynecological Oncology. He adds: – These symptoms can have completely different etiologies. After confirming the individual temperature, antipyretic drugs were started, the patient also took a broad-spectrum antibiotic, and we monitored her. The symptoms listed were considered tremors rather than chills.

There is no record of it being a jolt on the chart. That same evening the midwife said: “Around 8:00 pm, the patient reported shivering and feeling unwell. Notify the doctor.” The card reads further: “The chills disappeared. It was noted that the symptoms subsided as soon as the patient was interviewed and the chills were distracted.”

An hour later, Marta reported more symptoms. It was hot. The midwife wrote a temperature of 38 degrees on the graph. The patient was given paracetamol and pyralgin.

– My wife was afraid of sepsis, she even said it in our conversation: “If only the sepsis had not ended, because the child would fly first, and then me” – says Krzysztof Sowiński.

Birth

The staff agreed that Mr. Krzysztof could enter his wife’s delivery room. The husband’s account shows that they were alone in the room throughout the operation, and the midwife came to see them several times. At 03:15, a number of tests were performed, including checking for the presence of procalcitonin, a highly sensitive indicator of inflammation in the body. At 03:50 there were results. It was very bad and could indicate the development of an infection. The acceleration of stillbirth has not been determined pharmacologically.

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– The wife reported a complaint, called the staff for her. We heard that the wife should give birth. In the end, I was born, with the last remaining strength, and lost consciousness. The doctor came to see that my wife was suspected of having sepsis and they were taking her to the intensive care unit. The newly born wife was brought into this room to say goodbye – says Krzysztof.

Despite the introduction of antibiotics and a hysterectomy, which, according to doctors, was the source of the infection, the woman’s condition deteriorated. Marta died on the night of April 17-18, on the third day of her hospital stay. According to the husband, the symptoms reported by his wife were ignored and the proper treatment was not given in a timely manner.

There are symptoms that could indicate infection. This patient did not show these symptoms. Sepsis is a catchy informative term, but we don’t recognize sepsis in every patient that occurs. Just as not every patient is suspected of having sepsis – emphasizes Dr. n. Som Krzysztof Novosilsky.

– When that doctor said after giving birth that my wife suspected sepsis, she collapsed. I grabbed the wall, and couldn’t believe what I was hearing. What is sepsis? When CRP is accepted, sepsis is normal after 20 hours. what happened? Krzysztof’s wonders.

There was supposed to be a chariot, and there’s a tomb

After the funeral, Mr. Krzysztof demanded full medical records to find out what had happened in the ward. Surprised by entries that the patient was rude, abusive, undermined the competence of the midwives and did not follow the recommendations of the staff. He does not categorically agree with them which is why he reported to the Public Prosecutor’s Office and Patient Rights Complaints Secretary.

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– It is alarming that upon admission to the hospital the health of the patient and the child was good, and during hospitalization, when their condition worsened, no steps were taken to save the life and health of the patient. I should note that I say this on the basis of data from the patient’s family. It does not change the fact that this is another case when the situation develops tragically as part of the hospitalization. I ask all patients who find themselves in such a situation not to be afraid to intervene. Their lives and health are the most important – attorney Robert Prezik of the Patient Rights Ombudsman confirms.

In its explanations, the hospital claims that during her infertility treatment, Martha weakened her immune system and therefore her body could not resist. Thus, he refutes her husband’s accusations that doctors convinced his wife that she had neurosis. The case is being investigated by the Katowice Regional Prosecutor’s Office and the Patient Rights Ombudsman.

– If there is no risk of sepsis, the question remains, why would the patient die under the supervision of doctors and midwives? How can a pregnant woman die in the 21st century of sepsis in the hospital? – Refers to Małgorzata Hudziak, Legal Counsel.

Somehow I can accept the loss of my child, because I have lost two children before, but I will not accept the loss of my wife. The more I knew that it was possible to save her – says Krzysztof, and adds: – This is what my life looks like now. I was supposed to find a baby carriage, I was looking for a place to bury them.