A tragic mum who died ‘from a broken heart’ after learning her baby was stillborn was killed after suffering a cardiac arrest, an inquest heard.
Lindsay Clift, 29, collapsed in a delivery suite at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton, West Mids., on September 26 last year.
Her husband Darren, 41, had rushed to her to the hospital when their baby still hadn’t arrived 12 days after the due date.
Doctors induced labour but discovered the couple’s first child Katy May had died in the womb and devastated Lindsay was forced to give birth to her stillborn.
On Thursday, an inquest heard the pretty mobile hairdresser died of an amniotic fluid embolism - a rare condition affecting one in 200,000 mothers in the UK – which triggered a fatal heart attack.
Pathologist Dr Adrian Yoong said he had found skin cells and a small fragment of hair in several small blood vessels in the mobile hairdresser’s lungs.
He told the inquest at Smethwick Council House: “Sometimes material comes off the baby into the blood including skin cells and so on.
“The only source could have been the amniotic fluid. We can say fairly surely that the finding in the lung suggests not only an embolism, but that it was also the cause of death.
“This lady, for whatever reason developed an amniotic fluid embolism and unfortunately died from it.”
Lindsay, who had married Darren in May 2011, was brought to hospital to be induced 41 weeks and five days into her pregnancy.
But a midwife raised the alarm after failing to find the baby’s heartbeat.
An ultrasound scan confirmed the tragic news of Katy May’s stillbirth and Dr David Churchill, consultant obstetrician at the hospital, prepared an urgent induction procedure by readying drugs to Lindsay.
He told the inquest: “I went to administer those but before the medication could be given to Mrs Clift, she actually said that she wished to vomit.
“She got up off the bed and went to the toilet where she did vomit.
“A midwife went with her and it was at that point that she collapsed. She was having difficulty oxygenating her own blood. She was blue, she was gasping for breath.
“After an initial period where her body was quite rigid almost as if she was having a seizure, she became quite limp.
“It was clear that she had had a cardiac arrest at that particular point.”
Dr Churchill rang an emergency buzzer for help and a team including a consultant anaesthetist, the anaesthetic registrar and senior midwifery staff helped to return Lindsay to her bed.
The medical team followed advanced life support system processes for more than an hour, during which the tragic baby was delivered by caesarean section, but Lindsay’s heart finally failed for the last time.
Black Country coroner Robin Balmain agreed with the pathologist that an ‘extraordinarily rare’ amniotic fluid embolism had caused Lindsay’s death, which he ruled was due to natural causes.
He said: “This is a tragedy for everybody. Mrs Clift would no doubt have been anticipating a very exciting time. It was going to be her first child.
“Unfortunately the baby was dead prior to delivery, and indeed prior to the caesarean section being carried out Mrs Clift collapsed in circumstances that were impossible to tell what was going on.”
Devastated Darren, who lived with Lindsay in Bilston, West Mids., broke down in tears during the inquest.
Speaking after his new wife’s death last year, he described her as “beautiful, stunning and warm” and said she died of a “broken heart”.
He said: “There was no reason to think anything was going to go wrong that day. She walked in there fit and healthy.
“She seemed to just pass out. To my mind, once Katy May had gone it was almost as if Lindsay wanted to go as well, to look after the baby. She wanted a baby so much.
“In my view she was so heartbroken that she wanted to be with the baby. This was a longed-for baby, it was mine and Lindsay’s first.
“For them to not find an instant cause of death, it sort of strengthens my feeling, even if it’s medically nonsense, that she made the decision to go – I was there, I saw the fight go out of her.
“We went in there hand in hand to become a three and very quickly found that Katy May had passed away, and then Lindsay.
“I still can’t believe how we got to this. The hospital were brilliant, they did everything they could.
“It probably sounds cheesy given recent events but I called her my angel for the last few months.
“She touched so many people, she was just lovely, so many people have got in touch to pay tribute to her since she passed away and that’s some comfort.
“Lindsay was just a warm and easy person to be with. There was never a bad patch. We just wanted the same things in life.”
The pair met in 2005 at Darren’s place of work before marrying in May last year at the Mount Hotel, Wolverhampton, West Mids.
Verdict: Natural causes.