Rochelle inquest: Family pays loving tribute to Luton mum and baby as coroner finds their lives could have been saved

The family of Rochelle Lyle paid a loving tribute to her after a coroner found that her and her baby's lives could have been saved if she had been given a brain scan and regular observations.

Thursday, 4th April 2019, 2:33 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th April 2019, 5:57 pm
Rochelle Lyle was described as a beautiful person inside and out

28-year-old Miss Lyle was admitted to Luton & Dunstable Hospital with on-going headaches on March 20, 2017, and she was found in a state of cardiac arrest on March 25 after suffering a brain haemorrhage.

As doctors rushed to resuscitate Miss Lyle, her baby daughter Imaani was delivered at 26 weeks' gestation in an emergency caesarian in her mum's hospital room.

However, baby Imaani had already sustained permanent brain injury after being deprived of oxygen while her mother was in cardiac arrest, despite the L&D having a 94% survival rate for babies born at 26 weeks.

Rochelle Lyle was described as a beautiful person inside and out

Miss Lyle died the following day after a transfer to the specialist team at Addenbrookes Hospital, while Imaani died in her grandfather's arms on May 4, 2017.

A postmortem found that Miss Lyle had suffered from a cavernoma - an abnormal cluster of blood vessels in the brain - and that the fatal brain haemorrhage on March 25 had followed an undetected haemorrhage several days before.

At Ampthill Court House today, senior coroner for Bedfordshire Emma Whitting presented her findings and offered her condolences to the young mum and baby's families.

She said: "Rochelle and Imaani's family have waited a long time for the conclusion of this inquest. I would like to start by paying tribute to the calm and dignified way they have listened to the evidence, despite much of it I imagine being extremely distressing.

The family of Rochelle Lyle paid tribute to her after the inquest

"The loss of both a daughter and granddaughter in a matter of weeks is an unimaginable tragedy for most of us and my heart goes out to you and your family."

Mrs Whitting said that the questioning of witnesses by Rochelle's father Laurie and mother Sally had been extremely relevant and useful in reaching her findings, which were as follows:

1.) Following Rochelle's admission to the L&D, her presentation required a referral to the medical teams and a request for brain imaging, but this did not take place.

2.) In view of her symptoms, brain imaging was required by March 23, and such imaging would have identified the initial bleed.

3.) Following identification of the intracerebral brain haemorrhage, Rochelle required immediate transfer to the Neurosciences Critical Care Unit or at the very least, transfer to a stroke unit for observation.

4.) There was a deterioration in Rochelle's condition from the morning of March 23 and although it had become more marked by March 25, went undetected.

5.) Had neurological observations been in place, Rochelle's condition would have been treated and Imaani would have been born in a controlled manner, thereby avoiding their respective deaths on March 25, 2017, and May 4, 2017.

As a result of a long list of recommendations carried out at the L&D after Miss Lyle and Imaani's deaths, at least one pregnant woman has been diagnosed with a cavernoma and monitored carefully as a result.

In her closing comments, the coroner said: "I cannot say how sorry I am for the loss you have suffered. March 2017 was meant to be a time full of extant joy, instead of suffering a terrible tragedy.

"Such tragedy will of course continue to appear senseless to you.

"But from the lessons that have been learnt ... Rochelle's and Imaani's deaths will not have been in vain. While their own lives may not have been saved, they will be saving the lives of others every day and will continue to do so."

Outside the court house, Rochelle's parents, two brothers and uncles gathered to pay a touching tribute to her.

Her father, Laurie Lyle stated: "Rochelle Louise Lyle was a beautiful person, both inside and out. Rochelle was a bright, bubbly, vivacious, caring, intelligent and popular person, who was loved by all of her family, friends and associates.

"Those of us fortunate enough to know her well, can all say without any shadow of a doubt, that Rochelle would have been a fantastic mother."

He added: "This double tragedy, two lives taken from us ridiculously early, has totally devastated us as a family, in ways that I think few people can ever begin to comprehend.

"Whilst we are very aware that this process will in no way bring us solace, or bring Rochelle or Imaani back, we are however grateful and satisfied with the inquest process.

"We feel that the coroner's findings are consistent with what we as a family believed to be the case all along, which is that Rochelle and Imaani's deaths were avoidable, they were very preventable, and that there were systemic failures throughout which resulted in Rochelle and Imaani's ultimate demise."