A “beautiful” mum-of-three died on Christmas Day just a week after giving birth – leaving her partner to be “mammy and daddy” to their children.
Karen McEvoy, 24, was struck down by exhaustion, flu-like symptoms and severe back and abdominal pain in the days before she died last month.
She is believed to have contracted sepsis before she went into cardiac arrest as doctors attempted to intubate her to help her breathe.
Her final words to her distraught partner, Barry Kelly, were to ask him whether he had been crying and to say she would love him forever.
Today, Barry, 26, can still recall the sounds of the compression pump on Karen’s chest as she lay unresponsive in hospital in Co. Kildare, Ireland.
As his partner slipped away, he held her hand and desperately told her she couldn’t leave him, reminding her of their exciting plans for the future.
“I went into her and I was talking to her,” Barry, who has a newborn baby daughter and two “gorgeous” little boys with Karen, told the Irish Times .
“I was like: ‘I love you. You can’t leave me. We have to build our house. We have to get married in 2025.’ I just kept calling her.”
He added that he later brought his beloved partner’s body home, but was warned not to touch her in case there were infectious pathogens.
While battling agonising grief, he came up with a beautiful reason for why his boys, aged one and three, also couldn’t touch their mum.
“I told them mum was so special and so amazing that the fairies came and got her, to give her her fairy wings. I said: ‘When mammy comes home she’ll be in a magic fairy box and we can’t touch her’,” Barry recalled.
Smiling Karen, originally from Tallaght, Dublin, had welcomed her baby daughter into the world just seven days before she died.
She later began complaining of painful and debilitating symptoms.
But her devastated family claim no action was taken during a postnatal appointment at Naas’s Vista primary care clinic on December 21.
They also allege nothing was done about her symptoms during a visit to Coombe hospital two days later for their baby’s heel-prick test.
They say, at this point, Karen was deteriorating and needed crutches to walk. She was reportedly told by medics she may have sciatica.
A Health Service Executive (HSE) spokeswoman told Mirror Online that the body could not comment on individual cases.
It was on Christmas Day morning that an ambulance was called after Karen awoke with severe swelling, heavy breathing and slurred speech.
Instead of enjoying her little girl’s first Christmas, she was given emergency treatment, including broad-spectrum antibiotics, by doctors.
As an anxious Barry awaited news of his partner’s condition at Naas General Hospital, he says medics told him it seemed she may have sepsis.
Before she was intubated, he went in to speak to her. He told her he’d be there when she woke up – but she heartbreakingly never did.
Karen passed away after suddenly going into cardiac arrest.
Barry, who is on leave from his IT job, is now calling for an independent investigation into his partner’s death “to get answers for my kids”.
Meanwhile, a fundraising page has been set up to support the family.
A post on the GoFundMe page reads: “As some of you have heard of the tragic death of our beloved Karen aged just 24yrs.
“Karen passed away suddenly on Christmas Day. She had just given birth to a beautiful baby girl just 7 days prior.”
It continues: “Along with this heartbreaking loss comes financial burdens.
“We would like to gather some support for the family so that they can have some time to heal. We are looking for funds to allow Barry to take time off work and relieve him of any financial stresses at this most difficult time.
“Having money to access the resources and small comforts they need over the next while will be extremely helpful to them and allow them to focus on the enormity of the loss without adding financial worries.”
Karen has been described as a much-loved mum who “brought immense joy” to everyone she knew and will be greatly missed.
“We are devastated by her loss,” the GoFundMe post reads.
Following her death, Karen’s heartbroken younger sister, Laura McEvoy, took to Facebook to pay tribute to her “beloved” older sibling.
She wrote: “You were loved beyond words.”
A HSE spokeswoman told Mirror Online: “The HSE cannot comment on individual cases. Maintaining a patient’s confidentiality is an ethical requirement and is also a legal requirement.
“When a patient, or a patient’s family, makes personal information public, this does not relieve the HSE of its duty to preserve/uphold patient confidentiality at all times.”
- The GoFundMe page for Karen’s family has so far raised more than €6,480 of its €5,000 target. To donate, click here