Medication 'could have caused brain damage in tragic teenage mother'

Teenager, 17, who died after giving birth to her 9lbs 9oz son may have suffered brain damage caused by medication given to stop her blood loss, inquest hears

  • Teegan Barnard, 17, suffered a cardiac arrest within two hours of giving birth
  • She suffered Postpartum haemorrhaging and underwent a caesarean section
  • Teegan was given Carboprost, used in emergencies to stop haemorrhaging
  • Professor Robert Forrest said it could have caused the brain damage which she then suffered, but added it would be a ‘very rare complication indeed’

A teenage mother who died after childbirth may have suffered devastating brain damage due to the emergency medication given to her to stop her bleeding, an inquest heard today.

Teegan Barnard, 17, suffered a cardiac arrest within two hours of giving birth to her son Parker, who weighed nine pounds and nine ounces, at 3.04am on September 9, 2019, at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester. 

Pizza chef Teegan, who was around 5ft 6ins and weighed eight stone, lost 3.8 litres of blood in just 10 minutes during childbirth.  

She suffered Postpartum haemorrhaging – a serious medical issue when mothers lose significant amounts of blood in labour – and underwent a caesarean to help her deliver her baby. 

Teegan was given Carboprost, a hormone widely administered in childbirth emergencies to stop haemorrhaging, which may have had an ‘undocumented adverse response’ to the drug she was given to stop blood loss during labour, an expert said.  

Professor Robert Forrest, a veteran toxicologist, today told an inquest in Chichester, West Sussex that the medication could have caused the brain damage which she then suffered, but added it would be a ‘very rare complication indeed’. 

Keen horse-rider Teegan died at her Havant, Hampshire home on October 7, 2019. 

Teegan Barnard, 17, was ‘really looking forward to becoming a parent’, her mother said. She suffered a cardiac arrest within two hours of giving birth to her son Parker, who weighed nine pounds and nine ounces, at 3.04am on September 9, 2019, at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester

Teegan’s tragic last picture: This picture was taken shortly before Teegan died, weeks after giving birth. Investigators said it would have been ‘best practice’ and ‘appropriate’ for health workers to offer Teegan an induced labour

She could have been offered to be induced three weeks before she gave birth to her child, but wasn’t.   

Teegan was given five doses of Carboprost – which is administered to cause the uterus to contract, stopping blood loss – at St Richard’s, her inquest heard.  


September 7, 2019: Teegan began to have contractions while 41 weeks pregnant, so went to St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, West Sussex, but midwives said she wasn’t dilated enough so sent her home.

September 8: Her contractions became ‘very strong and she was in a lot of pain’, so went back to hospital, and vomited at around 11pm.

September 9: In the early hours, her pulse raised to 119 beats per minute. 

At 1am, Teegan showed signs of infection and was given an emergency caesarian. 

At around 3am her condition dramatically worsened and ‘her lips turned blue’ as she suffered breathing issues. 

The first-time mother suffered a devastating cardiac arrest and brain damage.

October 7: Teegan died at home in Havant, Hamshire, after being discharged to spend her final days there. 

Prof Forrest, formerly of the NHS’s Department of Forensic Pathology, said Carboprost may have caused the ‘massively severe’ breathing issues Teegan suffered within two hours of childbirth which starved her brain of oxygen.

When she was transferred to a bed after surgery, medics noticed her lips had turned blue. She had suffered ‘bronchoconstriction’ and ‘bronchospasm’ which starved her of oxygen.

Prof Forrest said: ‘There was quite some time before Teegan could be properly ventilated and during that time sufficient oxygen was not getting into her.

‘There was bronchospasm deep in the lungs and unfortunately she suffered brain damage.’

Prof Forrest continued: ‘The bottom line is what caused the severe bronchoconstriction that she experienced?’

He said the evidence suggests there was not an allergic reaction, but that it was caused by Carboprost.

He said: ‘The drug which is most likely to have caused it was Carboprost because Carboprost, particularly in people who suffer from asthma, can cause severe bronchoconstriction.

‘This was massively severe bronchoconstriction.

‘We are all different and have respond differently to different drugs.

‘There are people that have idiosyncratic adverse responses to drugs. Individuals can have idiosyncratic responses which are previously undocumented before a drug is administered.

‘It’s possible that someone can have an idiosyncratic response to carboprost and it is undocumented.

‘I think it’s more likely than unlikely (in Teegan’s case).’

Slight-framed Teegan Barnard (pictured left, with her mother Abbie Hallawell) lost almost four litres of blood when she gave birth to her nine pounds and nine ounce baby via caesarean section after experiencing an obstruction during labour

Pictured: Teegan Barnard and her baby Parker, taken hours before she passed away. Her devastated mother Abbie Hallawell, 35, who is looking after her son, collated pictures of Parker in his mother’s arms – so that he can see them when he grows up

Lawyer Adam Walker, for Teegan’s family, suggested the amount of CP given to her ‘increased the risk’ she faced. Prof Forrest said it was ‘possible’.

Teegan’s mother Abbie Hallawell arriving at her inquest

The doses Teegan received were in line with national guidelines, the inquest heard.

Prof Forrest said he can’t be sure that Carboprost is the ‘origin of the disaster’, nor that the amount administered led to her death.

He added: ‘Nobody should be worried about using Carboprost in an appropriate clinical setting because of Teegan’s tragic case.’   

Teegan’s mother Abbie Hallawell  had said the teenager ‘loved her family and had close relationships with her grandparents’.

She added: ‘She was girly-girl who enjoyed socialising with her friends and horse riding. Growing up she was a normal healthy girl who didn’t suffer any major illnesses.’

Ms Hallawell and Teegan’s father Trevor Barnard have instructed expert medical negligence lawyers as they demand answers at the inquest.

Ms Hallawell and Mr Barnard are bringing up Parker – who is now two – alongside his dad, Leon Forster.

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