Inquest into death of mum at troubled maternity unit to be held

6 Jan 2020

An inquest into the death of a mum at a scandal-hit maternity ward hours after she gave birth will begin on Monday.

Gabriela Pintilie, 36, who is originally from Romania, gave birth to her daughter in February last year but died the following day at Basildon University Hospital. The baby girl survived unharmed.

The maternity unit at the hospital has been beset with problems in recent months. In November Mum-of-one Stela Ernie, 31, spoke of the horror of having her child stillborn after she was sent home twice by medical staff – despite being almost two weeks overdue.

She was in labour for more than 54 hours before she gave birth to her baby boy Lucas who had already passed away.

An inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in July last year criticised the unit, saying some of its practices were not always safe and that it requires improvement. In the same month, a coroner found that a baby boy Ennis Pecaku would probably have survived if it had not been for the hospital’s neglect.

In January a midwife was struck off after she told parents of a premature baby that they needed to “mourn the baby’s death” while it was still fighting for its life.

The inquest touching upon the death of Mrs Pintilie at Chelmsford Coroner’s Court is expected to last three days.

Stephanie Prior, head of medical negligence at London law firm Osbornes Law, who represents the family, said: “Gabriela’s family is devastated at her loss and demand answers as to why she died in the place she should have been safest having already given birth to her baby daughter. They hope that the inquest will be able to provide answers to the many questions that they have so they will be able to grieve and try and move on with their lives if that is ever possible.”

Maria Tiron, a solicitor at Osbornes Law who speaks Romanian, has also been working in the case and liaising with the clients.

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