Jury selected for doctor's trial over Caesarean death


A jury has been selected in a landmark case in which a doctor and a trust are charged in connection with the death of a woman who had earlier given birth by emergency Caesarean section.

Teacher Frances Cappuccini died at Tunbridge Wells Hospital in Pembury, Kent, on October 9 2012, after giving birth to her son.

Consultant anaesthetist Errol Cornish, of Holmbury Park in Bromley, south-east London, appeared at Inner London Crown Court and spoke only to confirm his name. 

The South African-born 68-year-old, who walked into court with the aid of a stick, has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter by gross negligence. 

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, which runs Tunbridge Wells Hospital, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of corporate manslaughter.

It is the first time an NHS trust has been charged with the offence since its introduction in 2008.

The trust is accused of causing Mrs Cappuccini's death by a "gross breach of its duty of care" owed to her.

The charge further states that the trust had "failed to take reasonable care to ensure that the anaesthetists involved in the care of Mrs Cappuccini held the appropriate qualifications and training for their role and further failed to take reasonable care to ensure that there was the appropriate level of supervision for the anaesthetic treatment of Mrs Cappuccini".

Following her death, locals said the 30-year-old primary school teacher was a "much-loved and dedicated" teacher at Offham School in Kent, which she joined as a newly qualified teacher, taking reception and early year classes.

The trial, being heard by Mr Justice Peter Coulson, is due to open on Wednesday when the jury is sworn in and is likely to last until the beginning of February.