A “NORMAL” and “healthy” 45-year-old died after giving birth at a Buckinghamshire hospital, an inquest heard.

Joanne Lockham died from a brain injury from a lack of oxygen caused by cardio and respiratory arrest two days after giving birth.

The Wendover resident suffered a cardiac arrest while the baby was delivered by caesarean section in October 2007 at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury.

Mrs Lockham was 40 weeks and six days pregnant and had received IVF treatment to conceive.

Buckinghamshire Coroner Richard Hulett asked a doctor today: “In the context of a woman of 45 she was actually previously in very normal health?”

Pathologist Sanjiv Manek, who performed a post mortem on Mrs Lockham, said: “That is correct, yes.”

Christopher Johnston, a solicitor representing the Lockham family, asked a hospital doctor who saw Mrs Lockham in the weeks before the birth if her age would be a “risk factor”.

Dr Alvaro Bedoya Ronga said it would. She also had high blood pressure and diabetes which could be a “potential problem” he said.

The inquest was told the baby’s heart rate had increased throughout the day when she arrived from home and a decision was taken to deliver the baby by caesarean section.

Assistant anaesthetist Dawn Swaffer was moved to tears when she recalled how Mrs Lockham went into cardiac arrest at 7pm and the baby was delivered at 7.03pm.

She said the team tried three different intubation techniques and a consultant anaesthetist was “not happy with its placement” when he inspected it at 7.30pm.

Asked if the intubation – where a tube is placed into the mouth – was successful she said: “From my point of view it was possibly not correct.”

The caesarean section was carried out under general anaesthetic.

Mr Johnston questioned whether this was needed and whether the caesarean section – agreed at 6pm – should have happened sooner.

Jacqueline Hall, a consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology, said she did “not anticipate any complications” at 6pm.

She said a caesarean section within 30 minutes was a “sort of benchmark” but babies could be born safely after 75 minutes.

Mr Hulett asked her whether she saw “anything particularly worrying and dangerous about what was happening” with the patient before she got to theatre at 6.50pm.

Miss Hall said: “No, I wouldn’t.”

She said: “When I made the decision I genuinely believed that it was appropriate to be considering a delivery but not earlier in the day.”

This meant it was made a category two caesarean section, less urgent than the “crash” category one, she said.

The inquest, being held before a jury, will continue tomorrow.