Inquests of two mums who died of herpes after being treated by same surgeon opens


Kim Sampson and Samantha Mulcahy gave birth by Caesarean section weeks apart at different hospitals that are part of the East Kent NHSTrust in 2018

Samantha Mulcahy, seen here with her husband Ryan, died six weeks after Ms Sampson
Samantha Mulcahy, seen here with her husband Ryan, died six weeks after Ms Sampson

Inquests into the deaths of two mothers who died from herpes shortly after giving birth were opened today.

Kim Sampson and Samantha Mulcahy gave birth by Caesarean section weeks apart at different hospitals that are part of the East Kent NHS Trust in 2018.

A BBC investigation reportedly found the two women had been operated on by the same surgeon, and that he may have been the source of the infection according to the broadcaster.

Their inquests were formally opened by Katrina Hepburn, area coroner for Central and South East Kent, at the Archbishop’s Palace in Maidstone, Kent.

The brief 10 minute hearing was told Ms Sampson, 29, gave birth by emergency C-section due to obstructed labour at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, Kent on May 3, 2018.

The barber, of Whitstable, Kent, was discharged on May 5 but was re-admitted five days later following a referral from her GP.


Kim Sampson
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Laparotomies showed Ms Sampson had suffered acute kidney injury and failure before she died from a cardiac arrest at King’s College Hospital in London on May 22, 2018.

The coroner gave her cause of death as 1A multi organ failure, 1B disseminate herpes simplex infection and pelvic candidiasis, 1C recent third trimester C-section and 2 multiple laparotomies.

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The hearing heard Mrs Mulcahy underwent a Caesarean section at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, Kent on June 26, 2018.

The nursery nurse, 32, of Hawkinge, Kent, was 34 weeks pregnant when she was admitted in labour.

Mrs Mulcahy was found to have suffered obstetric cholestasis and also developed an acute kidney injury, increased blood pressure and developed respiratory issues after giving birth.

An abdominal CT scan showed an enlarged liver and blood clotting wasn’t normal so she went for an ECMO life support procedure.

But while in theatre, she suffered a cardiac arrest and never recovered.

The William Harvey Hospital
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Ms Hepburn gave her cause of death as 1A multi organ failure, 1B disseminate herpes simplex infection and 1C recent third trimester C-section delivery.

She said: “The cases were investigated in 2018 and 2019 but discontinued.

“It has since come to light that there may have been an infection as a result of the Caesarean sections.

“At the time of the discontinuation, it wasn’t known when the herpes infection developed and new evidence now shows it may have been at the time of the procedure.

“This requires further investigation and an inquest being opened.”

The hearing was adjourned until February 21, back at the Archbishop’s Palace in front of Ms Hepburn, for a pre-inquest review into the two linked cases.

The BBC investigation discovered documents showing the virus which infected the two women was genetically identical.

Both women had C-sections
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Peter Greenhouse, a sexual health consultant for more than 30 years, told the BBC that the virus was likely to have entered the women’s abdomens during their Caesarean sections.

Speaking at the time of the investigation in November, the families of the two women welcomed the inquests.

Kim’s mother Yvette Sampson said: “We’ve wanted this since Kim died in 2018 – it’s been a long time coming. We hope we are finally going to get answers to the questions we’ve always had – both for ourselves and for Kim’s children.”

Ryan Mulcahy, Samantha’s husband said “not knowing what happened has worsened the pain and the suffering from losing Sam”.

Samantha’s mother Nicky hopes the inquest will help the families come to terms with what happened.

“How did Sam and Kim get the virus, and from where? You feel like you are stuck and you can’t move forward because you haven’t got the answers you should have had,” she said.

Dr Rebecca Martin, chief medical officer for East Kent Hospitals, also said in November: “Our deepest sympathies are with the families and friends of Kimberley and Samantha.

“We will do everything possible to support these inquests and our thoughts are with Kimberley and Samantha’s families at this time.”

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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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