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Mother dies 10 weeks after giving birth as cancer symptoms mistaken for side-effects of pregnancy

The Independent logo The Independent 10/08/2016 Alexandra Sims


© Provided by Independent Print Limited

A husband is fundraising in memory of his wife who died ten weeks after giving birth when her bowel cancer symptoms were mistaken for extreme side-effects of pregnancy.

Laurel Cohen, a 38-year-old occupational therapist from Golders Green, and her baby were reported as healthy at every scan and health check during her pregnancy.

She experienced abdominal pain, shortness of breath and constipation during her first trimester, but these were thought by doctors to be usual side-effects, the Times reports.

In her 35th week of pregnancy her abdominal pain increased to such an extent that she was admitted to London’s Royal Free Hospital on 10 May 2015.

Further scans found the intense symptoms were the result of a large lump on Mrs Cohen’s liver. 

Ruby was born five weeks prematurely four days later through Caesarean section and taken into neo-natal care.

A biopsy was carried out on the tumour confirming Mrs Cohen had terminal bowel cancer, which had spread to her liver.

In the weeks before she died Mrs Cohen underwent four rounds of chemotherapy at the Royal Free Hospital, who said in a statement: "We would like to offer our deepest sympathies to Laurel's family and friends".

She was eventually transferred to the Marie Curie hospice when her body become unresponsive to treatment and died on 26 July last year, the Telegraph reports.

“There are no words to describe how difficult losing her has been it all happened so fast,” said her husband Dave Cohen,the MailOnline reports. 

“Looking back now those last weeks are all just a blur of running between the neo-natal clinic to be with Ruby and the cancer ward to be with Laurel.

“I still miss her every single day. It’s been a year of firsts – the first time I am having to do so many things on my own. But Ruby gives me strength.”

In memory of his wife, Mr Cohen is running 10km races with Ruby in her pushchair. In the process he has raised over £7,000 for charity.

According to a JustGiving page set up by Mr Cohen he is fundraising for the charity Mummy’s Star, set up to help women and their families affected by cancer during pregnancy, Marie Curie Hospice Hampstead and Chai Cancer Care.

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