Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) Drugs During Pregnancy
[See: [2009 Oct Letter] Swine flu fatal? Or Tamiflu fatal?]
Footy friends rally after Perkin loses wife and son
Oct 14, 2009
Cindy Perkin died at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital on September 5, seven days after giving birth to her stillborn son Jake.
Even when his eyes welled with tears Chris Perkin somehow managed to smile.
Perhaps it was his way of pulling himself together, to ensure the next moment came and went without him breaking down.
Or maybe it was his mind turning to his two little boys, without whom he would be "totally lost".
Almost six weeks since the inexplicable deaths of his unborn son Jake and wife Cindy just seven days apart, Mr Perkin's torment is unimaginable but his courage undeniable.
"She is my soul mate and I still think she is with me," Mr Perkin, a prominent amateur footballer and West Coast Eagles physiotherapist, told The West Australian.
As family, friends and the WA football community rally around Mr Perkin and his sons Ben, 6, and Sam, 4, there remain few answers to Mrs Perkin's death on September 5 or that of her stillborn son on August 29.
The coroner is investigating Mrs Perkin's death, which came after the 35-year-old was twice released from St John of God Hospital in Subiaco in the days leading up to her death.
"I don't expect to find anything and I am not pointing fingers anywhere," Mr Perkin said. "All the doctors are as lost as what I am."
Mr Perkin said the first significant signs of complications in his wife's pregnancy came in the last week of August, about three weeks before she was due to give birth.
Mrs Perkin, who had already endured what Mr Perkin said was in hindsight her third "tough" pregnancy, suddenly fell ill and was prescribed a precautionary dose of the swine flu antiviral treatment Tamiflu. Subsequent tests found she did not have swine flu.
Two days later on August 29, as the Perkins' celebrated their son Ben's 6th birthday, Mrs Perkin felt cramps in her stomach and started suffering headaches and blurred vision.
Mr Perkin drove her to St John of God Hospital , where she developed a blotchy, red rash all over her body upon arrival. Hospital staff soon delivered the horrific news that her unborn baby's heart had stopped and she would need an emergency caesarean.
Mrs Perkin spent the next four days in hospital with her husband by her side before she was released on September 2.
They spent Mrs Perkin's first afternoon out of hospital choosing a grave site and the following day selecting his clothes, a coffin and a teddy bear for his funeral.
On the evening of September 3. Mrs Perkin's blurred vision and headaches suddenly returned. She felt "a bit weird", Mr Perkin said. As the symptoms became stronger Mr Perkin again drove his wife to St John of God , where tests were inconclusive.
Doctors told Mrs Perkin she should probably stay in overnight but she decided to go home. At 2.30am, about an hour after they had returned home, Mr Perkin said he was shocked out of a deep sleep by his wife's cries from the hallway.
"She said, 'My legs aren't working, I can't walk'," Mr Perkin said. He pleaded with her to keep talking but as he lifted her on to the bed and helped her into a jacket, she lost consciousness. She would never wake up.
Mrs Perkin spent the next 40 hours in an induced coma at King Edward Memorial Hospital and then Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital with a rare condition called haemolysis, where red blood cells unexplainably begin killing themselves.
On September 5, as Mrs Perkin started showing signs of improvement, doctors told Mr Perkin to get some rest while they moved his wife for a CT scan.
"As I put my head on the bed, mate, I have heard this code blue - which means resuscitation - in the radiology department so I have gone, 'oh no'," he said.
"I am not a religious man but I prayed on the way down. I've run down eight flights of stairs trying to get there and then I have got there and I ran in there and they were on the table pumping her heart. For 20 minutes I am just watching her being resuscitated. But basically her heart stopped and that was it."
A fundraising quiz night for the Perkin family is being organised by West Coast and the North Beach Football Club at Burswood on November 11. Tickets can be bought from the Eagles on 9381 1111.