Clinical Negligence & Catastrophic Injury Solicitors
Trust accused of maternity investigation failings.
An NHS trust at the centre of an investigation into its maternity services has been accused of failing to properly investigate the deaths of at least two babies.
Jack Burn and Sophiya Hotchkiss died within six months of each other and both families say that their concerns were dismissed by Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust.
The trust said it investigates all deaths, and takes appropriate action where necessary.
There were at least seven avoidable deaths at the trust between September 2014 and May 2016, with some families raising concerns about others as well.
When he was health secretary Jeremy Hunt ordered a review of deaths and other maternity errors at the trust.
In one case, Stephanie Prowse, who was 31 weeks pregnant with her third child, rushed to Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, with her partner, in September 2014 because she was feeling unwell but they claim that they were left in a side room for 40 minutes before staff checked her.
A heart rate monitor showed that the baby, Sophiya, had a weak heart beat, and, even though she was delivered by emergency caesarean, died after 32 hours.
Stephanie Prowse says: "If they had checked her heartbeat when I first arrived, I believe she would have had a heartbeat when she was born and wouldn't have been born sleeping. If they had got her out, I believe I'd have a three-year-old running around."
The family asked the trust to look into the circumstances surrounding Sophiya's death but say they have never even received a response.
However, the trust has said that an internal examination of the incident had been carried out but the family had not been involved, even though The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommends that families are always invited to participate in such investigations.
Their concerns have been echoed by the family of Jack Burn who was born in March 2015 but died within hours, of hypoxia and Group B Strep.
His mother, Hayley Matthews, says that throughout her 36-hour-long labour at the Princess Royal Hospital, Telford, she was refused a caesarean section several times.
Instead, she says, she was forced to have a natural birth during which her son's shoulder was trapped. By the time Jack was born, he was blue and limp and died shortly afterwards.
Hayley Matthews, who claims that the death was never properly examined, says: "They just expected me to push. I asked for a caesarean, they said 'no you'll be fine, you can do it'."
Once again the trust has said that it did investigate the death but admitted it had not included the family in its inquiry.
Colin and Kayleigh, parents of Pippa Griffiths, who died around 30 hours after being born at home after also contracting the Group B Strep infection, claims that they were also initially dismissed by the trust.
They had called the trust in the middle of the night to say their daughter was vomiting brown mucus. They say that no action was taken, no advice was given, and hours later Pippa died.
The trust visited the family to say that nothing could have prevented their daughter's death but her parents refused to believe this and forced managers to hold an investigation.
A coroner has subsequently ruled that Pippa's death was avoidable, and that the trust had failed to provide the family with the information that could have saved her life.
Kayleigh says: "Why would the trust not raise the death as a serious incident? They knew what had happened, and they weren't going to do an investigation. That's when I said that's not good enough there will be an investigation and we will be involved.”
Commenting on Pippa's death, the trust said: "We are truly sorry that we were unable to provide the appropriate care that would have prevented Pippa's death.
“We have apologised to Pippa's parents and have carried out specific actions to address the issues this tragic case has highlighted to ensure we learn from these devastating events."