Specialist clinical negligence claim solicitor Sarah Newcombe of Scrivenger Seabrook Solicitors examines the recently reported verdict of the Kent Coroner in the tragic case of Mrs Cappuccini.
Coroner Finally Records a Verdict in Relation to the Death of Frances Cappuccini
“Mrs Cappuccini was a 30 year old primary school teacher who was married with one son when she was admitted to Tunbridge Wells Hospital in October 2012. The birth of her first child had been difficult and a Caesarean Section was planned for the delivery of her second child. Unfortunately when she was admitted to hospital she was in labour and the hospital staff apparently advised her to attempt a natural birth. The attempt was unsuccessful. She failed to deliver after labouring for 12 hours. She was rushed to the operating theatre and her second son was delivered by emergency Caesarean Section. She suffered a post-partum haemorrhage and cardiac arrest and tragically died only 3 hours after her son was born. An Inquest was opened to investigate the death, but the Inquest was adjourned pending the outcome of criminal proceedings against Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust who are responsible for the management of Tunbridge Wells Hospital. This was a landmark criminal case and the first time an NHS Trust had been accused of corporate manslaughter in connection with a patient’s death since the introduction of the offence in 2008. However, the criminal case collapsed. The Judge ruled that there was no case to answer, there being insufficient evidence to continue with the trial. The Inquest into Mrs Cappuccini’s death finally resumed before Senior Coroner Roger Hatch in Gravesend, Kent and his verdict was given on 16 January 2017. The Coroner ruled that Mrs Cappuccini had died as a result of failures and inadequate diagnosis and treatment at Tunbridge Wells Hospital. The Trust made a statement accepting that there were shortcomings in relation to Mrs Cappuccini’s care and an apology was given to the family. The Trust said that a number of changes had been made to its processes to improve patient safety.
The status of any civil proceedings being pursued by Mrs Cappuccini’s family against Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust is not known, but given the admitted failings by the Trust there would almost certainly have been a substantial civil claim possible against the Trust for the loss of this young wife and mother.”
Sarah can be contacted further on 01480 214900 or by e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.