Consultant says 'it didn't cross his mind' that new mother who died at Kent hospital had herpes

First-time mother Samantha Mulcahy died at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford in 2018.

A hospital consultant said it did not cross his mind that a new mother from Kent who died shortly after giving birth "had herpes".

Mid Kent and Medway Coroners is investigating the cases of 29-year old Kimberly Sampson and 32-year-old Samantha Mulcahy who died in 2018 after the same obstetrician conducted their Caesareans.

They were treated six weeks apart in hospitals run by East Kent Hospitals University NHS Trust (EKHUT).

Both died with herpes shortly after giving birth and their families, who were at the hearing, have been waiting almost five years for answers.

Both Kim Sampson (left) and Samantha Mulcahy (right) died with herpes shortly after giving birth at different hospitals in East Kent

Dr God'swill Etokowo, who worked alongside another surgeon, who has been granted anonymity, to deliver Ms Mulcahy's baby, told an inquest in Maidstone on Wednesday he noticed she was ill before the birth.

He was "worried" after noticing she was clearly in "pain and discomfort" and was involved in the decision to conduct a C-section.

Ms Mulcahy, who was from Whitstable, lost 700ml of blood during the procedure, the court was told.

She also had a rash close to her bottom and there were concerns over her having pre-eclampsia, a life-threatening high blood pressure condition, it was said.

Dr Etokowo said: "It didn't cross my mind that she had herpes.

"I didn't think she had herpes; she had a rash but I didn't think it was a herpes rash."

He added: "I was not convinced she had pre-eclampsia, personally, but there was, of course, a chance."

Dr Etokowo said in hindsight he would have sent a blood test away if there was any doubt over whether Ms Mulcahy had an infection.

But he did not know about Ms Sampson's death and how she died.

Herpes infections are commonly found around the genitals and face, often with mild symptoms.

Ms Sampson's baby boy - her second child - was delivered at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate in May 2018.

Ms Sampson, from Whitstable, died at the end of the month in hospital in London after becoming infected.

In July, first-time mother Mrs Mulcahy died from an infection caused by the same virus at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.

In March, coroner Catherine Wood accepted an application from the trust to give anonymity to the surgeon common to both cases.

The inquest continues.