Teen who died after childbirth ‘may have suffered brain damage due to medicine’

An expert said Teegan Barnard, 17, could have had an ‘undocumented adverse response’ to the drug she was given to stop blood loss during labour

Teegan Barnard gave birth to a larger than expected baby
Teegan Barnard gave birth to a larger than expected baby

A teenage mum who died after childbirth may have suffered devastating brain damage due to the emergency medication she was given to stop her bleeding, an inquest has heard.

Teegan Barnard, 17, could have had an “undocumented adverse response” to the drug she was given to stop blood loss during labour, an expert said.

The keen horse rider, who lost almost four litres of blood after giving birth to a larger than expected baby boy, was given Carboprost, a hormone widely administered in childbirth emergencies to stop haemorrhaging.

Professor Robert Forrest, a veteran toxicologist, today said the medication could have caused the brain damage which she then suffered.

It would be a “very rare complication indeed”, Prof Forrest told Teegan’s inquest in Chichester, West Sussex.

Within two hours of giving birth to son Parker at 3.04am on September 9, 2019, at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, Teegan suffered a cardiac arrest, the inquest heard.

She lost almost four litres of blood after giving birth


Irwin Mitchell / SWNS)

Teegan while she was pregnant


Irwin Mitchell / SWNS)

She later died at home on October 7, 2019.

Teegan could have been offered to be induced three weeks before she gave birth to her 9lb 9oz child but wasn’t, the inquest heard.

She suffered Postpartum haemorrhaging – a serious medical issue when mothers lose significant amounts of blood in labour – and underwent a cesarean to help her deliver her baby.

Teegan was given five doses of Carboprost at St Richard’s, her inquest heard.

Carboprost is administered to cause the uterus to contract, stopping blood loss.

Prof Forrest, formerly of the NHS’s Department of Forensic Pathology, said Carboprost may have caused the “massively severe” breathing issues Teegan suffered within two hours of childbirth which starved her brain of oxygen.

When she was transferred to a bed after surgery, medics noticed her lips had turned blue. She had suffered ‘bronchoconstriction’ and ‘bronchospasm’ which starved her of oxygen.

Teegan and her baby Parker


Irwin Mitchell / SWNS)

Teegan gave birth to son Parker at 3.04am on September 9, 2019


Irwin Mitchell / SWNS)

Prof Forrest said: “There was quite some time before Teegan could be properly ventilated and during that time sufficient oxygen was not getting into her.

“There was bronchospasm deep in the lungs and unfortunately she suffered brain damage.”

Prof Forrest continued: “The bottom line is what caused the severe bronchoconstriction that she experienced?”

He said the evidence suggests there was not an allergic reaction, but that it was caused by Carboprost.

He said: “The drug which is most likely to have caused it was Carboprost because Carboprost, particularly in people who suffer from asthma, can cause severe bronchoconstriction.

“This was massively severe bronchoconstriction. We are all different and have respond differently to different drugs.

“There are people that have idiosyncratic to them adverse responses to drugs. Individuals can have idiosyncratic responses which are previously undocumented before a drug is administered.

“It’s possible that someone can have an idiosyncratic response to carboprost and it is undocumented.

“I think it’s more likely than unlikely [in Teegan’s case].”

Lawyer Adam Walker, for Teegan’s family, suggested the amount of CP given to her “increased the risk” she faced. Prof Forrest said it was “possible”.

The doses Teegan received were in line with national guidelines, the inquest heard.

Prof Forrest said he can’t be sure that Carboprost is the ‘origin of the disaster’, nor that the amount administered led to her death.

He added: “Nobody should be worried about using Carboprost in an appropriate clinical setting because of Teegan’s tragic case.”

Teegan, who was around 5ft 6ins and weighed 52kg, lost 3.8 litres of blood in just 10 minutes during childbirth.

“Teegan had a big personality and was full of life”, her mother Abbie Hallawell said. “She loved her family and had close relationships with her grandparents.

“She was girly-girl who enjoyed socialising with her friends and horse riding. Growing up she was a normal healthy girl who didn’t suffer any major illnesses.”

Ms Hallawell and Teegan’s father Trevor Barnard have instructed expert medical negligence lawyers as they demand answers at the inquest.

Ms Hallawell and Mr Barnard are bringing up Parker – who is now two – alongside his dad, Leon Forster.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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