Kent Online: Payout for husband of Darenth mum who died hours after giving birth

The family was represented by P&B’s Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp

Payout for husband of Darenth mum who died hours after giving birth.

Payout for husband of Darenth mum who died hours after giving birth

Lauren and Merlin Gard with baby Charlie - hours before Mrs Gard died after giving birth at Darent Valley Hospital

Lauren and Merlin Gard with baby Charlie – hours before Mrs Gard died after giving birth at Darent Valley Hospital

by Rachel Hovenden

The husband of a young mum who died only hours after giving birth to their son has won a six-figure payout for his little boy.

Five-year-old Charlie Gard’s mother Lauren died at Dartford’s Darent Valley Hospital in May 2006.

Mrs Gard, who was just 26, suffered a heart attack caused by HELLP syndrome – a group of symptoms that can occur in women with pre-eclampsia or eclampsia – after Charlie was delivered. She died several hours later.

Now her husband Merlin Gard, of Coombfield Drive, Darenth, reached a £150,000 settlement with the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust.

He said: “It has been a tragic event; we lost a wonderful person.

“Charlie’s lost his mum and no amount of compensation would have ever replaced her.

“We tried to keep our dignity throughout this whole thing and we want something effective to come out this.

“I don’t want another woman to die because the hospital didn’t know how to treat her.”

Darent Valley Hospital

Lauren Gard died after giving birth at Darent Valley Hospital

In the years since Mrs Gard’s death, her husband has dedicated himself to not only bringing up Charlie but raising awareness of the condition that killed his wife.

He is now preparing to run his fourth London marathon in her memory.

Recalling that fateful night, he remembered how Lauren, who worked at John Lewis in Bluewater, showed no symptoms of HELLP.

The first sign was when she complained of back pain shortly after Charlie’s birth at about 8.30am.

She was told she had had a bowel spasm and was prescribed something to relieve indigestion. However, Mr Gard, 36, said that at 4pm consultants realised she needed platelets. Lauren had a heart attack at 8.30pm.

He was then told that she had been given all the correct treatments before being told at 9.30pm there was nothing more that could be done for her.

However, after her death, reports showed the platelets did not arrive until 10pm.

In a non-urgent case, it should take three hours for the platelets to arrive at the hospital.

Mr Gard, a Darent parish councillor, said that “a catalogue of errors” had led to her death.

He said: “It does affect a lot of people; it is not just high blood pressure. It can be fatal to both infant and mum.”

A Darent Valley Hospital spokesman said: “We would like to express our sincere condolences and offer our deepest sympathies to Mr Gard, to Charlie and the whole family.

“We are pleased that both parties have now been able settle this claim and wish the family well for the future.”

Accidents and Disease, Media clippings, Medical Negligence, Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp,
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