Published: 06:00, 22 October 2020
The death of a young mum who tragically died just three weeks after giving birth will form part of a major investigation into maternity services in east Kent.
Treatment received by Jasmine Donkin will be looked at as part of the Kirkup Inquiry - an independent probe into the care of mothers and babies at the scandal-hit QEQM Hospital in Margate and Ashford’s William Harvey.
The 20-year-old had been deemed at low risk of developing deep-vein thrombosis following a caesarean section so was not given an extended dose of blood-thinning drugs by doctors following the procedure.
But 22 days after the arrival of her second child, Callie-Grace, the former Canterbury schoolgirl collapsed at home after blood clots formed in her lungs, starving her brain of oxygen.
Her heart stopped twice and she died later the same day.
An inquest ruled she died from natural causes, and heard that hospital staff had followed official guidelines when establishing the risk of her developing blood clots.
But Jasmine’s heartbroken mum has called for all women undergoing caesarean sections to be offered an extended dose of anti-clotting drug Clexane, and not just those with specific risk factors.
Kim Connolly believes her daughter could still be alive if she had been offered the medication.
“I want to help put the word out there because these injections are important,” she said.
“How can they say she died of natural causes? I feel that if she had those injections she would still be here. I am her mum, I know that.”
Jasmine opted for a planned caesarean when she found out she was pregnant a second time, and on December 9 last year gave birth to a healthy girl at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.
She had complained of chest pains after the birth and two weeks later, on December 23, raised concerns about her surgery wound, but no signs of infection or thrombosis were found.
‘I want to stop other parents going through what me and my family are - we are going through hell at the minute...’
During a second review four days later, the wound was “red and hot” and Jasmine was prescribed antibiotics, as a small area appeared to be infected.
On New Year’s Eve, the young mum complained of a tight chest and trouble breathing, so her partner, Matt Cullen, called an ambulance.
But shortly long after paramedics arrived at their flat in Central Parade, Herne Bay, Jasmine collapsed with dilated pupils and went into cardiac arrest.
CPR was performed for three hours at the scene but she died later the same day at the QEQM Hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest.
Dr Bill Kirkup, who is leading the review of maternity services at the East Kent Hospitals Trust, says more parents have already made contact than expected.
Ms Connolly said: “I want to stop other parents going through what me and my family are - we are going through hell at the minute.”
Ms Connolly has received the backing of Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield after learning her death will form part of Dr Kirkup’s investigation.
Ms Duffield said: “I am very concerned about the circumstances surrounding Jasmine’s death and have written directly to the chief executive of the East Kent Hospitals Trust, asking for clarification and to have sight of their anticoagulation policies.
“It is always a tragedy when someone so young loses their life and I will be working alongside the family and the Dr Bill Kirkup enquiry to get answers and hopefully stop future preventable tragedies such as these.”
A spokesman for East Kent Hospitals offered their “deepest condolences” to Jasmine’s family.
“The inquest found that Jasmine sadly died of natural causes as a result of developing a rare type of blood clot and doctors appropriately followed the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists guidelines in her care,” they said.
“We welcome the independent investigation of our maternity services and any lessons that we can learn from its work.”