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'Unprecedented': Coroner prohibits naming of surgeon in herpes deaths inquest

A surgeon who may have infected two new mothers with herpes has been granted anonymity during the inquests into their deaths in an "unprecedented" ruling.

Coroner Catherine Wood said she made the decision because the surgeon's "apprehension" about being named when he stands as a witness would "likely impede his evidence in court" and affect his health.

Mid Kent and Medway Coroners is investigating the cases of Kimberly Sampson, 29, and Samantha Mulcahy, 32, who both died in 2018 after the same obstetrician conducted their caesareans. They were treated 6 weeks apart in hospitals run by East Kent Hospitals University NHS Trust (EKHUT).

On February 26 – the day before the inquest was due to begin and 16 months after it was first announced – EKHUT made a last-minute bid for anonymity covering the surgeon and a midwife also involved in both cases. The trust said they should not be named unless the inquest concluded they had passed on the infection, because of the "reputational damage" they would suffer, and because the surgeon's health was already being impacted by reports.

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Source: Medscape, 9 March 2023


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