Page last updated at 12:46 GMT, Thursday, 24 September 2009 13:46 UK

Payout over nurse Caesarean death

The family of a nurse who died during a Caesarean section at a Buckinghamshire hospital has been awarded £410,000 damages by the High Court.

Joanne Lockham, 45, died at Stoke Mandeville Hospital at Aylesbury in October 2007 during the birth of her first child.

She was given a general anaesthetic when the baby's heart rate dropped.

The oxygen supply to Mrs Lockham, of Wendover, was not put into her windpipe and she suffered cardiac arrest.

'Disastrous move'

She was deprived of oxygen for half an hour and her heart stopped just one minute after her baby son Finn was safely delivered.

She died two days later, having never seen the baby, who is being brought up by her husband Peter, a 48-year-old builder.

At London's High Court, Mr Justice Burnett approved a settlement against Buckinghamshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

They had admitted liability and publicly apologised for "serious failures" at the inquest into Mrs Lockham's death in March.

Mr Justice Burnett said the claim arose in "especially tragic circumstances" and paid tribute to Mr Lockham for his "devoted care" of his son Finn and a 17-year-old boy from another relationship.

Second dose

"He has done so in circumstances that all of us can understand are extremely difficult. The settlement is an entirely appropriate one."

In a narrative verdict, the inquest jury had highlighted four "serious failings" by the hospital.

Staff had failed to provide Mrs Lockham with 100% oxygen and medics did not use a machine to detect if she was exhaling carbon dioxide.

She was also given a second dose of a drug to paralyse her limbs when she started to stir and time was wasted with repeated attempts to insert a tube.

Coroner Richard Hulett described the decision to administer a second dose of muscle relaxant as a "disastrous move".

The hospital trust said it had carried out a full investigation after Mrs Lockham's death and made changes to procedures.

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