Caesarean death: Anaesthetist 'failed in elementary task'


The death of a teacher just hours after she had given birth to her second child was unexpected and wholly avoidable, a court has heard.

Frances Cappuccini suffered heavy bleeding after her son was born by Caesarean section at Tunbridge Wells hospital in Pembury, Kent, and was operated on, but never woke up from the anaesthetic.

The 30-year-old went into cardiac arrest three hours after the operation had finished on October 9 2012, and died at 4.20pm.

Two doctors responsible for Mrs Cappuccini after the operation had been completed failed, the prosecution alleges, in what it said was their "elementary task" to ensure she safely came round from the anaesthetic.

Consultant anaesthetist Errol Cornish, of Holmbury Park in Bromley, south-east London, has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter by gross negligence.

Dr Nadeem Azeez, who, the prosecution said, was primarily responsible for the care of Mrs Cappuccini, is not on trial, having left the country.

Prosecutor John Price QC said: "Were he within this jurisdiction, however, he would now be facing exactly the same charge (gross negligence manslaughter)."

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.