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Woman who died during childbirth was 'in excruciating pain'

Published: 5:29AM Thursday May 24, 2012 Source: ONE News/Fairfax

The 18-year-old whose partner and baby died in a Waikato birthing tragedy has spoken to ONE News about the delivery of his son.

Casey Missy Turama Nathan, 20, died at Waikato Hospital on Monday night - six hours after giving birth at Huntly Birthcare.

Her baby son, understood to be named Kymani, died yesterday at Waikato Hospital where he had been in a critical condition in intensive care.

Nathan's partner Hayden Tukiri did not leave his partner's side during the birth and says Nathan told him she was in excruciating pain.

"We should have just taken her straight to the hospital," Tukiri told ONE News. "We told her [the midwife] but she said 'she'll be right'."

ONE News has contacted the midwife, but she refused to comment.

It is understood she has had to leave town because of threats made against her. One of her colleagues, who did not want to be named, told ONE News she understood Nathan's care had been exemplary.

The Midwifery Council say maternal deaths in New Zealand are rare.

It released a statement saying the council has no knowledge of the case other than what has been said in the media and that it will co-operate fully with any investigation.

The family says preliminary post-mortem results show Nathan had haemorrhaged.

"The report says that there are some suspicious circumstances around the blood clotting," said Nathan's uncle Tem Ormsby.

The Nathan family say they want answers, but for now their focus is Nathan and Kymani's tangi.

A coroner has launched an investigation into Nathan's death.

Eighteen months' experience

Nathan went into labour at home on Sunday and arrived with her partner Tukiri at Huntly Birthcare about 1am on Monday morning.

The boy was understood to have been born with breathing difficulties about 11am, soon after Nathan became seriously unwell.

An ambulance was called and both mother and baby were taken to Waikato Hospital where, despite the best efforts of hospital staff, Nathan died about 5pm.

Her baby son was placed on life support but died yesterday evening.

Nathan's midwife had less than 18 months experience having graduated at the end of 2010.

Nathan's family is now questioning whether that was a factor in their "loving" girl's death.

"We are talking about inadequate supervision of a recent graduate to midwifery...we have seen the recent reporting of something similar in Hamilton - we want to prevent this, we don't want this to happen to anyone else - it has to stop here," said Ormsby.

"Our hearts and our sentiments go out to the birthing centre - but we are grieving too."

Nathan's final Facebook post on May 16 clearly illustrated how excited the expectant mum was about the birth of her first baby.

"O.M.G 3 Days left to go B4 i have baby - YAY" it stated, followed by a series of posts from friends and family wishing Nathan well.

'Loving daughter'

Last night Nathan's father paid tribute to his "loving" daughter in front of grieving family and friends.

"Casey was a very strong person, a people's person, she just loved people," he said.

"Just look at the people coming onto our marae here - they come in droves - not just one or two," he said.

Nathan said the family gathered on Tuesday night to "speak about what we need to deal with now and leave other stuff for later".

"Let's celebrate Casey's life and support each other, but also know in the back of our minds that there will be answers through the coroner's report and [other] action."

Hospital spokesperson Mary Anne Gill said "our condolences go to the family."

The Hamilton father of a baby boy that died in 2009 is urging the family of Casey Nathan to request all medical records relating to her labour and subsequent death.

Robert Barlow, whose son Adam died after a botched birth, said it was only after the family conducted its own investigation - including requesting clinical notes - that they were able to find answers.

In offering his "sincere condolences", Barlow said he hoped he would find the answers "to help make sense of the immense devastation that his family is going through".

"My heart goes out to Hayden and his family, and I hope they know that I am here if they need anything at this time for emotional support," he said.

Officer in charge of the Waikato coronial investigative team, Detective Sergeant Michele Moore, confirmed that a post-mortem examination on Nathan's body had been conducted and police were now awaiting the results.

Action to Improve Maternity spokeswoman Jenn Hooper said her thoughts were with Nathan's family.