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Two new mums who died from herpes 'could have been infected by C-section surgeon'

Dec 30, 2021

Two new mums died from herpes after hospital C-sections – with an inquest into their deaths now set.

Kim Sampson and Samantha Mulcahy had been operated on weeks apart by the same surgeon, with a new probe suggesting he could have infected the pair.

Ms Sampson, 29, became very unwell after her baby was delivered at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, in May 2018.

Doctors were baffled as to what had caused the infection but treated her as if she had sepsis caused by bacteria.

Tragically the young mum died on May 22, after being diagnosed with a herpes infection.

Six weeks later Mrs Mulcahy also died from the same virus, but this wasn't known until after the 32-year-old nursery nurse passed away.

While herpes virus infections are common and usually mild, death caused by it is very rare.

A BBC investigation found the virus could have entered the two mums through the abdomen as they had their Caesarean sections.

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In people with compromised immune systems, which pregnant women are counted as, survival rates for the herpes virus drops to 40%.

A coroner wrote to the families in 2019, saying she believed there was no connection between the deaths and there would be no inquest.

But more evidence has emerged the virus which killed both women was genetically identical.

In a new letter, seen by the BBC, the area coroner Katrina Hepburn said: "I am now of the view that there is reason to suspect that the infection may have arisen as a consequence of a necessary medical procedure, namely the Caesarean section, and in those circumstances, I have a statutory duty to investigate further."

Kim's mother Yvette Sampson said: "We've wanted this since Kim died in 2018 – it's been a long time coming.

"We hope we are finally going to get answers to the questions we've always had – both for ourselves and for Kim's children."

Ryan Mulcahy, Samantha's husband said "not knowing what happened has worsened the pain and the suffering from losing Sam".

Samantha's mother Nicky added she hoped it would provide answers, without which "you can't move forward".

Dr Rebecca Martin, chief medical officer for East Kent Hospitals, said: "Our deepest sympathies are with the families and friends of Kimberley and Samantha.

"We will do everything possible to support these inquests and our thoughts are with Kimberley and Samantha's families at this time."

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