Medics perform emergency c-section on woman killed in car crash – only to discover she WASN'T pregnant

Adele Barbour, 48, died in hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest following a crash on the A46 in Nettleham, Lincolnshire, on January 17 last year.

A C-section was carried out at Lincoln County Hospital after some paramedics thought Miss Barbour might be pregnant due to her protruding stomach.

The first day of a two-day inquest at Lincoln Cathedral Centre heard how Miss Barbour, driving a Vauxhall Meriva, crashed when she pulled out in front of a Toyota Yaris while trying to make a right turn.

A post-mortem investigation gave the medical cause of death as a laceration of the aorta.


Coroner Marianne Johnson raised questions regarding the actions of emergency workers who mistakenly thought Miss Barbour was pregnant.

An investigation was launched by the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS).

Nicola Ware, an off-duty paramedic who works at EMAS, was driving to her shift and was one of the first people on scene of the collision.

When Ms Ware arrived, she said Miss Barbour was sitting conscious in her car and complaining of back pain.


Ms Ware said: “I went towards the car that Adele was in. I asked her name and said that I was an off-duty paramedic on my way to work.

“I asked her if she had any pain and she said that she had pain in her back and that she had a pre-existing back condition.

“She did not mention if she was pregnant. She had a large puffa jacket on so I had no reason to believe that she was.

“I proceeded to the other car and I phoned the control room to explain that I would be late and I was told it would be a while before getting a crew on the scene.

“Another lady at the scene then shouted me back across to Adele as she thought she was fitting.

“She was unconscious but she had a pulse and she was breathing.

“The fire service arrived and I asked them to help me to get her out of the car and she went into cardiac arrest.”

Other paramedics from the private medical group, Elite EMS, and Lincolnshire Integrated Voluntary Emergency Service (LIVES) also arrived at the scene to help.

Staff who arrived at the scene raised concerns that Miss Barbour may have been pregnant due to a protruding stomach so precautionary measures were made while giving her CPR.

She was then taken to Lincoln County Hospital.

Emma Haskey, a clinical support manager at EMAS, told the inquest: “In a pre-alert to the hospital I informed them there was a female patient after a road traffic collision with a query to whether she was eight months pregnant and that I would update them with more information when I could.

“Later I was updated by the Emergency Operations Centre who told me that a C-section was carried out and the patient was found not to be pregnant.”

Sam Smith, also from EMAS, told the inquest: “In my opinion from the evidence I don’t think that the crew could have done any more than they did.

“I would not recommend a different course of action.”

The inquest continues.

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