Frances Cappuccini knew she wanted a caesarean for the birth of her second child.
The UK primary school teacher had suffered a placental tear while giving birth to her first child, Luca, four years earlier. A consultant obstetrician had recommended a caesarean the second time around, and she was booked in to have one. But she went into labour two days before that date.
Her husband Tom says she was “terrified” of giving birth naturally.
“She had been terrified for months in the run-up to giving birth because of the previous experience and what happened,” he told an inquest into her death earlier this week. “She was very certain she wanted me to make sure she had a c-section on arrival.”
But when the couple arrived at Tunbridge Wells Hospital in Kent, Tom says the midwives and doctors told them “not to make a decision based on pain and fear”, saying there was no reason Frances could not give birth naturally.
He says midwives had “almost a smirk across their face, almost laughing”.
“I put my trust and Frankie’s trust in the people that were there. They disregarded previous medical advice and we were made to feel small and insignificant,” he says.
“In hindsight, I wish I had never agreed.”
Twelve hours after arriving at the hospital, Frances was rushed into surgery for a c-section. Her son Giacomo was delivered, but a serious error was made. A large piece of placenta was left in the uterine cavity.
While Frances was feeding Giacomo for the first time, she started bleeding heavily between her legs. She was rushed into surgery again, and the piece of placenta was found, but she didn’t come around from the general anaesthetic. Her heart stopped, and she was unable to be revived.