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Nationalized Health-Care Kills UK Woman

3:40 PM, Apr 17, 2009 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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The Times of London reports:

A woman died in labour in a hospital lavatory after her induction was delayed because of a lack of specialist staff, an inquest was told yesterday.

Sarah Underhill, a policewoman aged 37, was in her 36th week of pregnancy when she was admitted to hospital suffering from pre-eclampsia.

The birth was to have been induced because of her condition, which causes high blood pressure. She was admitted to the John Radcliffe Hospital, in Oxford, on October 2 last year but the procedure was planned for October 6. However, the day before she was due to be induced she collapsed in the toilet and was forced to call for help by banging on the door.

Doctors fought to save her twins, conceived by IVF, but she died without having seen them. The babies were delivered by emergency Caesarean section and survived after a "magnificent" effort by staff. [...]

[Underhill's husband] said he was told that the induction was planned for October 6 - a Monday - rather than the preceding weekend, because of a lack of specialist staff on the maternity unit.

In a written statement submitted to the inquest, he said he believed that his wife should have had the babies delivered sooner.

Lawrence Impey, a consultant obstetrician who treated Mrs Underhill in the days before her death, said: "If I had known what was going to happen on the Sunday, I would completely agree with him. But we had no indication this was going to happen."