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Death of baby part of largest review into NHS maternity care

Posted on 07th September 2021 in Medical Negligence

Posted by

Stuart Bramley

Partner and Solicitor
Death of baby part of largest review into NHS maternity care

An unborn baby died within two days of his mother being sent home from hospital after reporting reduced movement in the womb and a loss of fluid, published the BBC.

Princess Royal Hospital in Telford said it had recognised "shortfalls in care" following the 2018 fatality of Charlotte Jacksons stillborn son Jacob.

Ms Jackson was deemed a high-risk pregnancy because of diabetes and underwent a pre-Caesarean assessment on 31 October three years ago, reporting fluid loss, reduced infant movement and stomach pains.

Two days later, after returning home, she phoned the hospital to say she had not felt the baby move since the day before, and sadly after attending the site, Ms Jackson was told her baby had died.

Lawyers said that in a letter to Ms Jackson, trust chief executive Louise Barnett stated: "I understand that Jacob could have been born healthy if we had arranged delivery earlier."

Ms Barnett of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust said they had "offered sincere condolences" to the couple. "We have recognised the shortfalls in the care offered to them and have subsequently undertaken extensive investigations to carefully review the events that occurred to ensure that all the lessons from this tragic incident are fully learned."

SaTH's standards are being investigated under the Ockeden Review, a government-commissioned probe following campaigns by two other bereaved families who blamed the trust for their loss.

After initially examining 250 cases it has since been widened to focus on nearly 1,900 cases dating back decades and is now the largest ever review into NHS maternity care.

Findings published in December 2020 highlighted numerous traumatic birth experiences including the deaths of babies due to excessive force of forceps, stillbirths that could have been avoided, and instances of mothers being blamed for infant deaths.

 

Tozers’ medical negligence specialist Stuart Bramley commented, “Even by the standards of the maternity services now under investigation, what happened to Charlotte Jackson is heart-rending. No pregnant woman whose waters break should ever be told that she had simply ‘wet the bed’ without first checking to ensure that the fluid is not as a result of the membranes rupturing, particularly as the gestation here was at 37 weeks. In addition, Charlotte was categorised as high risk so this occurrence, together with her own report that fatal movements were reduced, ought to have triggered immediate clinical checks.

“It is understandable that the hospital has recognised their errors and settled a legal claim arising from this incident, but this should never have been allowed to happen in the first place. Following this awful tragedy, I do hope that Jacob’s parents take some small reassurance that the Trust are now changing their practices and procedures as a result of the wider investigation and that hopefully other parents do not have to suffer as Charlotte and James clearly have”.

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