A pregnant woman dies in agony
By ZOE SATHERLEY
A North Coast Area Health Service and coronial inquiry is being held into the preventable death of a pregnant local woman.
Eight-weeks' pregnant Disha Schluter, of Upper Wilsons Creek, died at Lismore Base Hospital last month following a ruptured ectopic pregnancy.
Denice Fletcher, North Coast Area Health Service Clinical Operations director, has confirmed the death.
"We are conducting an in-depth clinical investigation into the circumstances of this tragedy using the statewide Root Cause Analysis method," she said.
"We extend our condolences to Ms Schluter's family members and many local friends.
"As the matter is now the subject of a coronial inquiry we are unable to make further comment at this time."
The tragedy happened when Disha's growing baby ? which had lodged in her fallopian tube rather than her uterus ? burst through, causing massive internal bleeding.
The 36-year-old was pregnant with her first child.
She had been longing to have a baby for about two years, having had a reversal of an operation to close her fallopian tubes in her younger years, a close friend said.
She arrived at Mullumbimby Hospital on Wednesday night, September 7, with her husband, Bhakta Huerkins.
She was in desperate abdominal pain, according to Bhakta.
Despite telling the on-duty doctor she was pregnant and feared an ectopic pregnancy, she was told she had a gastric complaint and was sent home with medication, he said.
She died in agony at home, in her husband's arms, at 5am on Thursday morning.
The shock of Disha's death has devastated the small, close-knit community where she lives.
Questions over her death have still not been answered to the satisfaction of the family.
Bhakta said he called Mullumbimby Hospital again on the night she was sent home, as his wife's condition continued to deteriorate.
He was told to ride it out until morning, he said.
He noticed Disha's breathing becoming shallower, and the pain increasing, so called an ambulance.
The ambulance crew tried to resuscitate her and she was transferred to Lismore Base Hospital.
There, an exploratory operation found an ectopic pregnancy had burst her fallopian tube.
Bhakta was told there were three litres of blood inside her abdominal cavity.
Disha was clinically dead but was kept alive for two and-half days on life support as friends and family gathered to say their last farewells before the breathing machine was turned off.
Two web sites have been established and devoted to Disha, a well-known and much loved holistic counsellor and healing therapist, marriage celebrant and musician.
They are www.rupda.com/disha and www.sublime-dezine.com/disha.htm.
This (edited version) of a tender poem written by Disha to the unborn baby she so longed for is posted on one site:
"How long? How long must I search, search inside for you and how long will I wait, wait here in love for you? It could be here and now, it could be lifetimes.
You said: Prepare the soil and god will do the rest, know you're worthy now to live in blissfulness. I had to turn myself into a golden cup, so you'd come and fill me up. How long must I wait? How long will it take? How long must I wait? How long, how long, how long?"
A report has now been lodged with the coroner, who is yet to determine the exact cause of death.
NB: Hospital records list Ms Schluter's name as 'Schleuter', but the spelling we have used is the one which was provided by her husband.