Pregnant mother and baby died of Covid after she was sent to ‘unsuitable ward’

A pregnant woman and her baby died two days apart after she caught Covid and was transferred to an unsuitable ward to treat her illness, an inquest heard.

Sumera Haq, 37, was eight months pregnant with her third child when she contracted coronavirus and started suffering severe stomach pain and worsening shortness of breath.

She was rushed to Whipps Cross Hospital in Leytonstone, east London, and initially treated on a labour ward.

Two days later the primary school teacher was transferred to a medical ward on 9 August last year after her respiratory function worsened, but her condition deteriorated and she suffered a cardiac arrest three days later.

Her daughter Ayra Butt, was delivered by caesarean section, but she had no signs of life and despite medics trying to resuscitate her, the baby was pronounced dead just 15 minutes after being born.

Ms Haq was given emergency treatment, but her condition caused by Covid pneumonitis continued to deteriorate and she died on August 14.

An inquest at East London Coroner’s Court found Ms Haq was inappropriately transferred to a medical ward and died following a lack of clinical leadership.

There was also a lack of ‘multi-disciplinary planning’ and a lack of close monitoring as well as a lack of ‘appropriate escalation’ due to her deterioration before she suffered the cardiac arrest, the hearing heard.

Kasim Butt, her husband, described the last year as “a living nightmare” after suffering the double heartbreak of losing his wife and daughter.

The 41-year-old delivery driver said: “It’s almost impossible to find the words to describe the hurt and pain our family feels.

“The last year has been a living nightmare which I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

“Sumera was a wonderful wife and the best mum any child could ever want. She went out of her way to help others and her death at an age when she had her best years ahead of her, has been particularly difficult to come to terms with.

“Those few days and trying to come to terms with the death of Ayra, whilst Sumera was also slipping away from us is something I’m not sure I’ll ever get over.

“When I saw Ayra she was beautiful. I just held her and cried my eyes out. I’ll cherish what little but precious time I had with her.”

Ms Haq, who tested positive for Covid-19 in late July was admitted to Whipps Cross by ambulance on 7 August after complaining of severe abdominal pain and increasing shortness of breath.

The mother-of-three died after her haemoglobin levels became dangerously low

She had sought medical advice in the previous days due to her symptoms.

Medical observations showed Ms Haq was suffering an acute kidney injury and on August 11 her level of haemoglobin – a protein that carries oxygen around the body – was considered to be concerning low, the inquest was told.

In the early hours of the following morning, her condition deteriorated, the hearing was told.

At 7am she was administered blood thinners and not long after, the emergency buzzer was pressed and she needed help from healthcare staff.

Sumera Haq was initially treated on a labour ward

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