Grieving husband calls for maternity unit inquiry after woman’s death

By Sam Russell, PA
·3-min read

The husband of a young mother who bled to death at a maternity unit has called for an independent investigation to be launched after a report highlighted further serious incidents at the hospital.

Ionel Pintilie’s wife, Gabriela, 36, lost six litres of blood after giving birth to their daughter via Caesarean section at Basildon University Hospital in Essex in February 2019.

A coroner said there were “serious failings” in her care and found that she was not given blood products that were available.

Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital
Gabriela Pintilie died after giving birth by Caesarean section at Basildon University Hospital (Nick Ansell/PA)

Inspectors from healthcare watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) branded services at the maternity unit as inadequate overall in a report published in August this year.

They said there had been six serious incidents in March and April this year where babies were born in a poor condition.

The report found there were not enough staff to keep women safe and described multidisciplinary team working as “dysfunctional”.

Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the services, said after the report was published that services were “safe to use” and apologised for not making improvements “quickly enough”.

The department had previously been rated as requiring improvement following an inspection in February 2019.

Gabriela Pintilie inquest
Ionel Pintilie has called for a full independent investigation following the death of his wife Gabriela (Family handout/PA)

Speaking for the first time since the report, Mr Pintilie, who has launched a civil action against the hospital trust, told of his anger and devastation.

He said: “I was devastated when I heard so many other women and babies had been through torment at the maternity unit.

“It has made me angry as they do not seem to have learnt from the mistakes of the past.

“I would like to see a full independent investigation into the unit so that the truth of just how many people’s lives have been so needlessly devastated at the unit can come to light.”

Mr Pintilie’s call comes after similar investigations were launched into the Shrewsbury and East Kent maternity units in recent months.

He added: “Reading about the report into Basildon has brought the pain of losing Gabriela flooding back.

“I still miss her every day and have struggled to come to terms with what has happened to us.

“When our daughter Stefania had her birthday in February, I didn’t know whether we should celebrate or not as she was born just a few hours before Gabriela died.

“Our loss is immeasurable, but to hear others have suffered at the hospital since Gabriela passed away is unacceptable.

“Something needs to be done to stop this from happening again in the future and I hope an independent investigation would help achieve that.”

Gabriela Pintilie inquest
Stefania Pintilie’s mother Gabriela bled to death after giving birth to her (Family handout/PA)

Stephanie Prior, head of medical negligence at Osbornes Law, who represents Mr Pintilie, said: “It is clear from the CQC report that the shocking failures of the past that led to Gabriela’s death have not been addressed; in fact they have got worse.

“I have heard many heart-breaking stories from clients who have had their lives devastated by what they have been put through at Basildon.

“It is crucial that an independent investigation is launched to discover the true extent of the failings.”