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Caesarean death: Tom Cappuccini speaks out after inquest into death of Frankie Cappuccini at Tunbridge Wells Hospital

By KentOnline reporter

The husband of a Kent school teacher who died just after giving birth has been speaking for the first time.

Frances Cappuccini suffered heavy bleeding after a C-section at Tunbridge Wells Hospital in 2012.

Speaking to Channel 4 News, Tom from West Malling, says it should never have happened.

Frances and Tom Cappuccini. Picture courtesy The Telegraph
Frances and Tom Cappuccini. Picture courtesy The Telegraph

He also spoke of his devastation at going through an ordeal lasting four-and-a-half years, and spanning two inquests and a court case, to find out how his beloved wife died.

He told the programme: "I loved her to bits. I would have done anything for her. I would do anything to change what's happened."

Earlier this year a coroner ruled she died as a result of multiple failures by hospital staff.

An inquest in January heard from a number of staff from Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW) and experts who were unable to identify the on-call consultant who should have been supervising Dr Nadeem Azeez.

The anaesthetist, who was the subject of an international arrest warrant last year, was responsible for mother-of-two Mrs Cappuccini during surgery on a major haemorrhage caused by a large piece of placenta left behind after a caesarian.

The 30-year-old Offham Primary School teacher lost up to half her blood as a result of the procedure, although this was not the direct cause of her death.

But husband Tom said he still blames himself for not being more insistent to doctors that she needed a C-section, after having problems in an earlier pregnancy.

Teacher Frances Cappuccini died after suffering a haemorrhage
Teacher Frances Cappuccini died after suffering a haemorrhage

He said, on hearing the news of her death: "It was devastating. It completely ripped me apart.

"I nearly passed out. I think I fell on the floor."

But he now believes the popular teacher's death was inevitable.

He added: "That has been made clear to me over the last four-and-a-half years: over everything I have looked into, over everything over people have looked into - the police and legal teams included - that someone was going to die.

"It was unfortunate it happened to us."

Last year Dr Errol Cornish and the trust were cleared of manslaughter.

Dr Cornish, 67, of Bromley, south-east London, a consultant anaesthetist, had denied manslaughter by gross negligence.

Tom said he didn't sleep for weeks both before and after the trial.

Dr Nadeem Azeez
Dr Nadeem Azeez

He said: "I just had to keep going because this wasn't about me. This was about Frankie. It was about getting justice for her."

But, in a dramatic twist, the husband said he only found out two days after the January inquest that his wife had been suffering from sepsis, or blood poisoning.

At the inquest, Dr David Bogod, a consultant anaesthetist and expert on obstetrics, told the hearing Dr Azeez – who has since fled to Pakistan – failed to make sure Mrs Cappuccini’s airway was clear after the operation.

"I loved her to bits. I would have done anything for her. I would do anything to change what's happened" - Tom Cappuccini

He said this check was the “bread and butter of anaesthetic practice” and the “most basic skill” Dr Azeez should have possessed.

Dr Bogod said Mrs Cappuccini died due to inadequate ventilation most likely caused by the airway obstruction.

He added that, despite investigating the case for three and a half years, he did not know who the on-call consultant anaesthetist was.

Mrs Cappuccini never came round after the critical operation in which son Giacomo was born.

The Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust has apologised.

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