Homerton University Hospital is facing an investigation after a new mother died from infections following her refusal of a blood transfusion.
40-year-old Jehovah’s Witness, Adeline Keh, is one of four new mothers treated at the hospital to have died in a nine-month period.
The hospital has asked NHS England to evaluate the deaths to check whether a “common failure” in care has occurred.
In October 2013, following a caesarean section, Keh was diagnosed with acute respiratory distress syndrome, sepsis and an infection in the caesarean wound, but rejected a potentially lifesaving blood transfusion on account of her faith.
She was later transferred to Papworth Heart and Lung Hospital in Cambridge where she died after two days.
Kwaku Keh, the woman’s husband, told the Evening Standard: “Each time I went to pick her up [from the hospital] I was told that she could not come home. Eventually my wife lost her fight and passed away and we never got to come home as a family.”
Mawsi Keh, the couple’s new baby son, was conceived naturally following years of fertility treatment.
A spokesperson from the Hackney hospital said: “Mrs Keh’s was a very sad case and our thoughts are with her family.”
“Each case was different and there were no obvious similarities. As well as being reviewed internally, two of the cases have also been the subject of review by the Care Quality Commission inspectors during their visit to the hospital earlier this year and nothing remiss was found.”
“We are now working with NHS England to seek a further independent review of the cases to see if any further lessons can be learnt.”
Despite the string of fatalities, the hospital maintains that their maternity wing is a “top quality service”.
The spokesperson added: “Over 6,000 babies are now born at Homerton Hospital. We are seeing more high risk mothers due to a number of factors including the increase in women having babies who have other clinical complications or conditions; and the fact that high risk women are referred to Homerton as it has a tertiary level neonatal intensive care unit.”
The NHS investigation will be completed next month.