An inquest examining the circumstances around the death of 34-year-old Alice Gibson-Watt heard she suffered a severe panic attack before her death.
An inquest examining the circumstances around the death of 34-year-old Alice Gibson-Watt heard she suffered a severe panic attack before her death. Supplied

New mum died from panic attack

A NEW mum died after suffering a severe panic attack just five weeks after giving birth to her first child.

An inquest examining the circumstances around the death of 34-year-old Alice Gibson-Watt heard she suffered a severe panic attack before her death following what is suspected to be post-partum psychosis.

Kidspot reports that the new mum, who friends describe as "bright, beautiful and determined" was convinced her newborn daughter, Chiara, was dead. Her husband called paramedics who had to restrain her in order to transport her to a mental health unit, where tragically she died after a cardiac arrest and internal bleeding.

Her husband Anthony Gibson-Watt has described in a Coronial Inquiry in the UK the "deeply traumatic" events of November 13th 2012, when his wife, an Antiques Roadshow expert, began crawling around on all fours and screaming her daughter Chiara Charlotte wasn't safe and was dead.

He said he was trying to keep the household "calm".

"It felt like all hands on deck. I was trying to keep her calm and get into a family routine.

"We were just settling down for the night in bed. Then she wailed and was very hot and screaming. She was on all fours in the bed and crawling around the bed."

He told the inquest he tried to calm her but his wife made her way upstairs to the nursery where she picked up her baby daughter and shook her, fearing her baby was dead.

Mr Gibson-Watt said: "Neither Alice or I were at all aware of Postpartum psychosis.

"Up to the evening of her admission to hospital I was concerned about post-natal depression, as any father would be, and that's why I organised a GP appointment on the day everything started to go wrong.

He said that his wife had been under pressure.

"There had been a lot of anxiety. She was eating a lot, she was eating double the normal amount. I had set my alarm for the feeds in the night as we no longer had a maternity nurse. Alice had let her go earlier that week."

The Sun reports that Mr Gibson-Watt called for an ambulance when his wife started shouting "that Chiara was unsafe".

He said: "I didn't want her to wake up, as would any father in that situation.

"So I was making sure Chiara was fine but obviously Alice was deeply agitated and felt she wasn't."

The court heard at one point Mrs Gibson-Watt "called out Chiara is dead".

Mrs Gibson-Watt then tried to get out to the street through the front door but the door was locked. He told the court held his wife and daughter "to try and calm everything down" as the ambulance arrived.

In the back of the ambulance she was held down by restraint straps and five people, including ambulance staff and police officers before she was taken to hospital.

The inquest was told her mother Miranda Phillimore was called by her son-in-law to her daughter's home after the ambulance crew arrived.

She told the court she arrived to find her daughter in the back of the ambulance and said: "She was alarmingly strapped down with five people holding her down at the time.

"The light inside was very bright. She knew who I was but she was very anxious about her baby.

"The police and the ambulance staff were holding her down. Each person was holding a leg or an arm."
The Sun reports that Mrs Gibson-Watt was taken to Chelsea and Westminster A & E in London where she was assessed.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Miriam Barrett told the inquest she appeared quite rational and normal, but underneath she was showing in her thinking there were delusions.

"She was convinced that she was communicating with her baby and the baby could communicate with her. The baby was part of her delusions and that is where the risk arose."

Police officer Sue Thomson said Mrs Gibson-Watt "told me about her baby and her birth and we had a normal conversation.

"Then she said to me 'you don't know it yet but I'm dead'."

In her evidence the coroner told the court Mrs Gibson-Watt had another "event" on the November 15, 2012, on the ward.

"She was taken to a seclusion room for a few days and then went back to her bed on the ward. Then she suffered a cardiac arrest and she was taken to the intensive care unit at West Middlesex Hospital.

"It was while she was there it was decided she needed to go to theatre for urgent surgery and there was a tear found on her liver. It caused a large bleed in her tummy and she was transferred to intensive care at Kings College Hospital on full life support. It was there she died on November 20, 2012."

In his evidence Anthony Gibson-Watt said that when his wife was in the mental health unit he felt she was safe.

"How wrong that turned out to be."

He told the inquest his wife "was enthralled by motherhood.

"One day I will tell our daughter more about her wonderful mother. I just hope now finally we get as close as possible to the truth of her passing."

The inquest continues.

If you or someone you know may be at risk of postnatal depression contact beyondblue 1300 22 46 36, or Post and Antenatal Depression Association Inc (PANDA) 1300 726 306.

This article originally appeared on Kidspot.

News Corp Australia


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