Pregnant mother, 36, died after collapsing in a hospital car park DAYS before she was due

By | June 25, 2019

Tragedy as nine-months pregnant woman, 36, dies after collapsing in hospital car park – but doctors manage to SAVE her baby girl

  • Rachel Molloy was rushed to hospital with stomach pains at nine months 
  • Her and her husband, Nick, 35, believed she was going into labour
  • She collapsed from a ruptured aneurysm in the artery supplying the spleen
  • Her daughter, Isabelle, was born via C-section, and Mrs Molloy died the next day 

A mother who was nine months pregnant died after collapsing in a hospital car park – but doctors managed to save her baby girl.

Rachel Molloy and her husband Nick had driven to hospital at 7pm on April 24 when she began having abdominal pains, believing she was about to go into labour.

But as soon as they got to Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester, at 7.40pm, her heart stopped beating and she collapsed.

Doctors rushed her inside and hooked her up to a life support machine, before her daughter Isabelle was delivered through a C-section at 8.05pm. 

However, the 36-year-old died hours later, at 1.36am on April 25. She had no idea she was expecting a little girl because she wanted it to be a surprise. 

The news of Isabelle’s birth was one of the last things Mr Molloy told his wife, who died despite the best efforts of 75 doctors and nurses who tried to keep her alive in an emergency operation. 

Rachel Molloy, 36, suffered from a ruptured splenic artery aneurysm - a rare complication of pregnancy- in the car park of the hospital at nine months pregnant. Pictured with her husband, Nick, on their wedding day in 2014

Rachel Molloy, 36, suffered from a ruptured splenic artery aneurysm – a rare complication of pregnancy- in the car park of the hospital at nine months pregnant. Pictured with her husband, Nick, on their wedding day in 2014 

Mrs and Mr Molloy had driven her to the hospital when she began having abdominal pains, believing she was about to go into labour. Pictured with her first child, James

Mrs and Mr Molloy had driven her to the hospital when she began having abdominal pains, believing she was about to go into labour. Pictured with her first child, James

Baby Isabelle was delivered by C-section at Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester on April 24. Two months on, Isabelle is still being looked after by a neonatal intensive care team

Baby Isabelle was delivered by C-section at Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester on April 24. Two months on, Isabelle is still being looked after by a neonatal intensive care team

Mr Molloy, from Sale, Greater Manchester, said: ‘She was the light of my life and my true soulmate.

‘I can’t imagine this world without her, because she was my world. Rach never got to meet our little girl.

‘It breaks my heart to think that Isabelle will never get to meet her mother. But I know Rach’s memory will live on in her children and everyone who knew her.’

Mrs Molloy suffered a ruptured splenic artery aneurysm – a rare complication of pregnancy that often kills both the mother and baby.

There were no symptoms leading up to the aneurysm – the pregnancy had been as smooth and uneventful as her first. 

Just days before, Mr and Mrs Molloy and their son James, three, had enjoyed a day out in the sun on Easter Monday.

But then, on April 24, Mrs Molloy started having abdominal pains, the most common sign of a ruptured splenic artery aneurysm (SAA).

Mr Molloy drove his wife to Wythenshawe Hospital, but she collapsed in the car park. Loved ones were told she suffered a cardiac arrest.

Tragically, Mrs Molloy could not be saved, and she died in the early hours of the next morning.

Mr Molloy drove his wife to hospital at 7pm on April 24 when she began having abdominal pains. She collapsed 40 minutes later, and died at 1.36am on April 25

Mr Molloy drove his wife to hospital at 7pm on April 24 when she began having abdominal pains. She collapsed 40 minutes later, and died at 1.36am on April 25

News of Isabelle's birth was one of the last things Mr Molloy told his wife, who died despite the best efforts of 75 doctors and nurses who tried to keep her alive. Pictured with James before

News of Isabelle’s birth was one of the last things Mr Molloy told his wife, who died despite the best efforts of 75 doctors and nurses who tried to keep her alive. Pictured with James before

Mr Molloy's focus now is on James and preparing to welcome Isabelle home when she is discharged from hospital, which will hopefully be in the next couple of weeks. He has raised more than £16,000 on JustGiving for the hospital

Mr Molloy’s focus now is on James and preparing to welcome Isabelle home when she is discharged from hospital, which will hopefully be in the next couple of weeks. He has raised more than £16,000 on JustGiving for the hospital 

SAA affects the vessel that supplies oxygenated blood to the spleen. An aneurysm is a bulge in a vessel caused by a weakness in the blood vessel wall.

As blood passes, the blood pressure causes a small area to bulge outwards like a balloon. If it bursts, it can cause life-threatening internal bleeding.

SAA occurs four times more frequently in women compared to men, and 95 per cent of the time during a pregnancy, most commonly during the third trimester.

Figures suggest around 25 per cent of mothers survive an SAA, while the odds are even slimmer for babies, with only five per cent thought to pull through.

Two months on, Isabelle is still being looked after by the neonatal intensive care team at Saint Mary’s Hospital in Manchester.

Isabella is feared to have suffered irreversible brain damage, after her oxygen and food supply was cut off in the womb when her mother stopped breathing. The extent won’t be known for some time. 

Mr and Mrs Molloy met in 2009. It has been a difficult time for the family, with June marking James' third birthday - and also what should have been the couple's fifth wedding anniversary

Mr and Mrs Molloy met in 2009. It has been a difficult time for the family, with June marking James’ third birthday – and also what should have been the couple’s fifth wedding anniversary

Mr Molloy said the couple had decided if they had a daughter to name her Isabelle Rey, but after realising what was about to happen, he changed it to Isabelle Rachel.

Mr Molloy popped the question on a gondola ride while on holiday in Venice, pictured

Mr Molloy popped the question on a gondola ride while on holiday in Venice, pictured

WHAT IS A RUPTURED SPLENIC ARTERY ANEURYSM?

A ruptured splenic artery aneurysm (SAA) is a rare condition that occurs in pregnant women 95 per cent of the time.

It has a maternal mortality rate of 75 per cent and fetal mortality rate of 95 per cent in pregnancy. 

Splenic artery aneurysm is the most common of all the visceral artery aneurysms. Visceral arteries supply blood to the organs – the spleen, kidney, liver and intestines, respectively. 

Causes are believed to include high blood pressure, injury, infection and inflammation of the pancreas. 

The prevalence of SAA is unknown. In the general population it is thought to be less than one per cent.  Although one study found a prevalence as high as 10.4 per cent in over 60s.

It occurs four times more frequently in women compared to men.  

SAA rupture in pregnancy is difficult to diagnose since its symptoms mimic so many other pregnancy problems, including abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. It mostly happens during the third trimester.

Hormonal and physiologic changes have been proposed to explain why SAA is more common in pregnancy. The hormones may change the structure of the arterial wall.  

An aneurysm is a bulge in a blood vessel caused by a weakness in the blood vessel wall, usually where it branches.

As blood passes through the weakened blood vessel, the blood pressure causes a small area to bulge outwards like a balloon.

If it bursts, it can cause internal bleeding.  

Source: Case Reports in Obstetrics and Gynecology

Mr Molloy said: ‘You hear of tragedies but they don’t really hit home for you – they happen on the news and in films. But when it happens to you, you just can’t believe it.

‘If this hadn’t happened to Rach then Isabelle would have been fine – she would have been a little early, but she was a healthy weight and had no development problems.’ 

It has been a difficult time for the family, with June marking James’ third birthday – and also what should have been the couple’s fifth wedding anniversary.

Mr and Mrs Molloy met via a dating website in 2009, and a little over a year later, they were off travelling the world together. 

Mr Molloy popped the question on a gondola ride while on holiday in Venice, and they were officially married at the registry office in Manchester, but consider the real date as June 21, 2014, when they held a blessing ceremony in Spain.

James came along in 2016, with Isabelle’s arrival on April 24, 2019. Mrs Molloy’s funeral took place on May 16. 

Mr Molloy said: ‘My own birthday was 9th April and Rachel made me a card. In it she’d written: “To a fantastic Daddy. I can’t wait for our next adventure as a family of four”. 

‘Rachel was a very driven person and never took her foot off the pedal. She was the go-to person for all her friends when they had questions about career, cooking, relationships, anything.

‘And she was a wonderful mum. She lived for the kids.’

Inspired by the care his wife received at Wythenshawe – and the amazing staff at Saint Mary’s looking after Isabelle – Mr Molloy decided to launch a fundraising appeal, as a thank you to both hospitals for everything they have done for his family.

At first he only expected to raise a few hundred pounds, but within weeks the JustGiving page had more than £16,000.

Mr Molloy said: ‘Something like this changes your reality and makes you realise how awful a terrible tragedy can be. 

‘In my mind, if this money helps save someone’s life or stops another family from going through something horrible, then it has done its job. I’m holding onto that thought, because I’m really struggling to see any other good that can come of this.

Mr Molloy said tragedies like this only happen'on the news and in films'. Pictured, the family together on the beach

Mr Molloy said tragedies like this only happen ‘on the news and in films’. Pictured, the family together on the beach 

Mr Molloy, pictured with his wife and first child when he was a baby, said:'My own birthday was 9th April and Rachel made me a card. In it she'd written: "To a fantastic Daddy. I can't wait for our next adventure as a family of four"'

Mr Molloy, pictured with his wife and first child when he was a baby, said: ‘My own birthday was 9th April and Rachel made me a card. In it she’d written: “To a fantastic Daddy. I can’t wait for our next adventure as a family of four”‘

‘I want to help people now. My perspectives on life have completely changed.’

Mr Molloy’s focus now is on James and preparing to welcome Isabelle home when she is discharged from hospital, which will hopefully be in the next couple of weeks.

She is now off the ventilator which was helping her breathe. But needs to be fed through an nasogastric tube to her stomach. Mr Molloy has been taught how to feed her with the tube.

Once the staff at Saint Mary’s are happy that she is stable and healthy he’ll be able to take his daughter home.

Mr Molloy said: ‘I feel hopeless and powerless. I can’t rewind the clock and change things – but I can make the best of a truly awful situation by doing something positive.

‘£16,700 is just an incredible amount and that’s mostly from people we know. I think donating gives people that sense of “I’m helping”.’ 

Sarah Naismith, director of Manchester Foundation Trust Charity, which the Wythenshawe Hospital Charity and Saint Mary’s Hospital Charity, comes under – said: ‘No one at the charity, or indeed the two hospitals, can quite grasp what has happened to Rachel – it is such a sad and tragic story.

‘The fact Nick has been able to think of others through this awful experience is nothing short a miracle.

‘I can’t emphasise enough how truly moved we are that Nick wants to help other people and we’re incredibly grateful to each and every person who has made a donation, either at the funeral or via the JustGiving Page. Thank you.’

To donate, visit here.  

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