A mother who died in childbirth said to her partner shortly before her death, “Tell the kids I love them, I’ll be fine.”
Sabine Mukanga was delighted to welcome her baby girl into the world but tragically ended up being hospitalized when she was seven months pregnant.
The 28-year-old complained of heartburn, flushing and breathlessness.
Partner Robert Lawani called paramedics and she was admitted to North Manchester General Hospital in the early hours of February 28, 2021.
After the tests were conducted, doctors broke the devastating news that the couple’s unborn child had passed away and that Sabine would need an emergency C-section.
When she was brought in for the operation, the young mother, who already had three children, said to Robert: “Tell the children that I love them. I will be fine.”
Tragically, Sabine died during the operation and Robert had to tell her daughter and son, aged seven and four.
Robert from Manchester told Manchester evening news: “Without Sabine I am completely lost.
“She was a wonderful mother and was so looking forward to the birth of our baby. She couldn’t wait.”
“The last thing she said as she was wheeled down for surgery was, ‘Tell the kids I love them.’ I’ll be fine.’ I felt the investigation raised more questions than answers. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”
The grieving father of two explained that there had been no signs of distress or panic the last time he saw Sabine and that everything had become “blurry” after her loss.
“I was due to fly abroad for work the next day and she insisted I fly there anyway,” he said.
“There was no indication that her life was in danger.
“She was buried with our daughter and just couldn’t accept it. I had no idea what went wrong.”
“We were so excited for a new baby. My life collapsed.”
The couple met while working together at a hair salon ten years ago and it was love at first sight.
Robert and Sabine became a family, with the young mother’s eldest child from a previous relationship.
After three happy years together, they welcomed their daughter Princiar.
I’m completely lost without Sabine.
In 2018, the couple were over the moon at the birth of their son, Princeton, and in 2020, Sabine discovered she was pregnant again.
“We were thrilled. “Sabine immediately started buying baby clothes and she was over the moon when the scan showed we were having a daughter,” explained Robert.
“She loved girly things.
“Sabine was perfectly fit and healthy and had no problems with any of her pregnancies so we had no concerns at all.”
A coroner concluded that Sabine had died of internal bleeding, and an inquest earlier this month found there had been “deficiencies” in her hospital care.
The inquest, conducted at Manchester Coroners’ Court, found the young mother had suffered an “external rupture of the external splenic artery hematoma” resulting in “massive” and fatal hemorrhage.
After her sudden death, the Health and Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) and a gastrointestinal consultant, Sayan Bhattacharya, conducted reviews of Sabine’s care.
dr Bhattacharya said at the hearing that he didn’t think anyone “knew what was going on”.
The last thing she said as she was wheeled down for surgery was, ‘Tell the kids I love them. I’ll be fine.'”
“There was no obvious bleeding from the vagina, so there was no obvious cause of the bleeding from the uterus,” he added.
“In summary, we didn’t know where the bleeding was coming from.
“I think of the most common cause and then we start to eliminate it.”
The consultant explained that doctors initially thought her bleeding was related to her pregnancy, so the obstetric team took care of it.
However, the young mother began to bleed behind the back wall of her abdomen and had “very little chance” when she arrived at the hospital, the specialist explained.
He said: “The only chance would have been to know the course of the bleeding in the splenic artery.”
“In this case we would have proceeded differently.”
The investigation found that a CT scan may have alerted medical professionals to the cause of the bleeding, but Dr. Bhattacharya claimed Sabine was too “unstable” and “her odds were slim from the start”.
Coroner Zak Golombeck told the court the results showed there should have been “a multidisciplinary approach to her care that incorporated emergency department, critical care and gastric surgery into her care.”
He also concluded that a CT scan should have been done, but acknowledged that it was not certain that it could have shown the source of Sabine’s bleeding.
“While there were shortcomings that were accepted by the foundation, there is no evidence that such shortcomings were more than a minimal contributor to her death,” he said.
We were so looking forward to a new baby. My life collapsed.”
It was concluded that Sabine’s heat-crushing death was of natural origin, after she suffered “massive internal bleeding” caused by “an external rupture of the splenic artery dissecting hematoma.”
Following the hearing, a spokesman for Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust said: “We would like to once again extend our sincere condolences to Sabine’s family for their loss.”
“The coroner concluded that addressing the identified deficiencies would unfortunately not have changed Sabine’s outcome, but we have put in place an action plan that is part of our approach to continually learn lessons to improve patient care.”
“I NEED ANSWERS”
After the investigation, Robert claimed he had more questions than answers.
The 33-year-old claimed Sabine consented to a CT scan and he wasn’t sure why it never happened.
“I don’t know when Sabine became too unstable for the scan. “I don’t know exactly when or how our baby died,” he said.
“There seemed to be no urgency at all at the hospital, and yet by the end of the night both my partner and my baby were dead.”
“I need answers so I can grieve.”
Robert and friends started one GoFundMe to continue the court proceedings.
He wrote, “I am not happy with the coroner’s decision at the inquest after he admitted the hospital’s shortcomings, but nonetheless concluded that her death was natural.”