NHS staff fat-shamed 38-stone mother-of-four who was 'terrified' to return to hospital for C-section and died a month after op, her mother tells inquest

NHS staff fat-shamed a 38-stone mother-of-four who was ‘terrified’ to return to hospital before she died just a month after undergoing a C-section operation, an inquest has heard.   

Shelley Harlow died in the early hours of May 25 at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital (QEQM) in Margate, Kent after suffering a blood clot following a caesarean operation the previous month.

The 38-year-old was declared dead at 2.26am on May 25 last year, after undergoing five different surgeries following a C-section operation in April 2022, having previously been discharged from hospital less than two weeks earlier on May 16 2022. 

Ms Harlow’s grieving mother told the inquest, via video link: ‘I feel that Shelley was fat-shamed a lot. She told me that on the day she went into hospital she was asked “what are you doing here?”


‘She told them she was coming in for a C-section and a member of staff told her that they would have to cancel a lot of other C-sections now because of how long hers would take,’ the bereaved mother told the inquest hearing. 

‘Shelley kept telling me they hadn’t made a plan and she was very frightened of having the C-section. I think being told that she’d have to have a special room and a big bed because of her weight made her feel even more frightened.

‘I want to make people aware that being overweight is like an addiction – it’s the same as cigarettes or drinking. There’s no use telling people to go on a diet if they don’t work. I think people need to realise that.’

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Source of data and images: dailymail

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