I get angry when I hear this, with medical advancement today, how can such a thing happen? Did the hospital really not have enough blood in their supply as proposed by the family? I really don't know, but it's really sad if so. The family managed to rally over 200 relatives to help donate blood, but still too late? No use pointing fingers, but it really makes my heart weep - whatever is done has been done, no use crying over spilt milk. Nonetheless, I think that it's a real pity, 2 kids growing up without a mother. Ouch...
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A woman who died after giving birth to twins had succumbed to Disseminated Intra-vascular Coagulopathy (DIVC), an acute blood coagulation problem arising from massive bleeding and transfusion.
In a statement, a Raffles Hospital spokesman said 44-year-old Madam Swee Lay Kuan - who had a twin pregnancy - was admitted on July 5 for bleeding.
This was a result of a low-lying placenta (Placenta Praevia).
While in the ward, she continued to have bleeding.
As there was a continuing threat of premature labour, and in the interests of the twins' safety, Madam Swee was scheduled for Caesarean section on July 7.
During surgery, massive bleeding was encountered and emergency blood transfusion was immediately started.
The hospital obtained further units of blood from the Centre for Transfusion Medicine (CTM).
The spokesman added that as is customary in cases like this, relatives and well-wishers were requested to assist in replenishing of the stocks at CTM.
Madam Swee was given large amounts of blood and blood products while she was in the Intensive Care Unit.
But she developed and subsequently succumbed to DIVC, an acute blood coagulation problem.
The Bloodbank@HSA says blood is provided to all patients at all times, based on clinical needs.
And all bleeding emergencies are given first priority.
Madam Swee's family had suspected that she died because the hospital did not have enough blood in its supply.
According to the family, hospital staff had told them that its blood supply was running low.
Madam Swee's husband, Jason Low said, hospital staff told him that a request for more blood would have to be approved by higher authorities.
And if the family wanted more blood, they would have to round up others to donate some at the blood bank.
So on Sunday morning (8 July), about 200 of their relatives and friends turned up to donate blood at the blood bank.
And the family said, blood was released after that.
But Madam Swee died that night.
Her death certificate states that she died of cardio-respiratory failure, pending an investigation.
Her family is appreciative of the hard work put in by hospital staff but they felt that the process of withdrawing blood was too slow.
In response, the Bloodbank@HSA says all requests for blood and blood products for Madam Swee were fully supported.
And that the supply of blood is not dependant on replacement donation.
Every hospital holds units of emergency blood which can be given to patients immediately during any bleeding emergency.
If there is sudden, unanticipated, massive bleeding emergency, the hospital will send a sample of the patient's blood to the Bloodbank for group and cross matching.
The blood is then issued to the hospital porter immediately after cross matching, which can be processed within 30 minutes.