State health department reviews two maternal deaths at South Shore Hospital

The state public health department is conducting an outside review into the deaths of two women soon after giving birth at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, agency spokeswoman Anne Roach said Tuesday. She said she could not provide details because the inquiry is ongoing.

South Shore Hospital has continued to deliver babies while doing its own review of the maternal deaths, which occurred Dec. 14 and last Wednesday. Deaths of women during or soon after childbirth are uncommon, but they continue to happen every year. There were 52 maternal deaths in Massachusetts during the 10-year period that ended in 2010.

Colleen A. Celia, 32, a Middleborough mother of four, died Wednesday at South Shore Hospital while giving birth to a healthy baby girl, Mya Rose, said her father, Raymond Romeroof Easton.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

He said his daughter, who worked as a patient navigator for a Braintree medical practice, was classified as a high risk pregnancy because she had placenta previa, an abnormal growth of the placenta that usually requires a caesarean section. Just a few minutes after doctors delivered the baby, complications set in, he said.

Doctors told the family she died of an amniotic fluid embolism, a rare condition that occurs when amniotic fluid or fetal material, such as hair, enters the maternal bloodstream. But he said the family won’t know for sure until an autopsy is complete.

“Obviously it is a traumatic event for the whole family,’’ he said. Romero said the hospital provided outstanding care.

Celia had three children, ages 14, 9, 6, before meeting her husband, Paul Celia, said her father. The married last Spring.

“Her life was her children,’’ Romero said. “They wanted to have a child together so they didn’t want to wait too long. Everyone will remember her spontaneous laughter and big smile. She was a very pretty girl. It was hard to miss her when she walked into the room.’’

Cindy Celia, Colleen Celia’s mother-in-law, said hospital medical staff tried to save Celia for two hours and that the family is having a very difficult time.

“Colleen was a super special woman,’’ she said. “She used to have a tattoo on her arm that said ‘move.’ It meant move forward, never look back.’’

The Brockton Enterprise reported that Christie Billodeau Fazio, 30, of Marshfield, who worked as a nurse at South Shore Hospital, died Dec. 14 while giving birth to a healthy son.

“Early indications are that both these case were unpreventable and unanticipated,’’ said Sarah Darcy, spokeswoman for the Weymouth hospital. “The biggest measure we are really focused on is supporting these families and making sure they have everything they need or want from us.’’

Roche said that a health department review “is standard protocol in serious reportable events.’’

“Due to privacy considerations, the health department is not able to comment on a specific patient or incident,’’ she said in a written statement.

Hospitals must report most maternal deaths or serious injuries to the health department within seven days of discovering the problem, and provide a follow-up report within 30 days after that.

Colleen Celia’s family has set up a fund to help care for her children. Donations may be sent to Bank of Easton, 275 Washington Street, Easton, MA for the Colleen A. Romero-Celia Memorial Fund.