New mother in coma fights for life after contracting swine flu

A young mother is fighting for her life after contracting swine flu.

Leanne Gunnell, 21, suffered brain damage when doctors put her in a coma to save her unborn child. Faith was delivered by caesarean at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital weighing just 3lb.

While she makes good progress and will be sent home in a few weeks, her grandparents fear her mother will never recover and they may have to switch of her life-support machine.

Simon and Sharon Gunnell, from Robinswood, Gloucester, want to know why their daughter was never offered a swine flu jab despite being pregnant.

Mr Gunnell, 43, said: "She was fit and healthy young girl. She was pregnant and she was not offered a swine flu jab – that's the most annoying thing."

At the end of November, the six-and-a-half-month pregnant hotel receptionist has been complaining of being ill for several days with a cold.

She went to her doctor's surgery, was told she had a virus and given antibiotics. Four days later when Miss Gunnell was still unwell her parents took her to see the out-of-hours GP service and a doctor repeated the same diagnosis. But the next day she was rushed to hospital coughing up blood amid fears she had pneumonia.

Doctors discovered her lungs had been so seriously damaged there was little chance of both her and the baby surviving.

They said the best chance was to put Miss Gunnell into a coma and deliver the baby at 28 weeks.

But days after the birth Mr and Mrs Gunnell were told their daughter had tested positive for swine flu and preliminary tests suggested she had suffered brain damage.

Dr Mike Roberts, acting medical director for NHS Gloucestershire, said: "We take the health and well-being of our population very seriously and we would encourage the family members concerned to make contact with us so we can look into their concerns."