Mother dies after 'window of opportunity for treatment was lost'


A 29-year-old pregnant woman who fainted in a London street was left paralysed, blind and brain damaged, and eventually died after a hospital cardiologist failed to diagnose a blood clot in her pelvis.

Emily Njie, who was nine weeks pregnant, was taken to Hammersmith Hospital but was sent home by Dr Pier Lambiase. Later, after the clot travelled to her lungs, she collapsed again and was left in a "semi-vegetative" state.

An inquest at St Pancras Coroner's Court heard that Ms Njie gave birth to a girl four months later, on 31 August 1997, but both mother and child died within 24 hours.

Dr Lambiase was not at yesterday's hearing, despite being issued with a summons. The coroner, Dr Stephen Chan, said he was considering pursuing him for contempt of court.

Dr Marsha Morgan, a consultant at the Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead, where Ms Njie was transferred before the birth, said: "It did seem extraordinary to myself and colleagues that [this] woman was allowed to go home."

Recording a verdict of death from natural causes, Dr Chan said: "At the very least, it could be said that a window of opportunity, in order that treatment could be instigated as soon as possible, was lost."

* Since the publication of this article, we have been advised that the Coroner subsequently made no adverse findings whatsoever in relation to Dr Lambiase.