'No Amount Of Money' Can Make Up For The Loss Of Couple's Baby Boy

Worcestershire Royal Hospital

22.01.2009

A Worcestershire couple have received a five figure compensation settlement following hospital failures which led to the death of their baby son shortly after his birth.

Nadia and Steve Jones from Kidderminster suffered every parent's worst nightmare when baby Harry tragically died seven hours after being born on 15th September 2004.

Problems first arose four days prior to his birth when Mrs Jones attended Worcestershire Royal Hospital on 11th September 2004 after her waters broke at home.

Rather than inducing labour, midwives wrongly advised Nadia and her husband Steve to return home. Routine checks, which would have indicated the baby was in distress and needed to be delivered, were not performed. Instead Nadia was reassured that everything was normal and was told to go home.

Nadia returned to Worcestershire Royal Hospital on both the 13th and 14th September and, despite informing midwifery staff that she was concerned that her baby's movements had become less frequent, she was reassured there was nothing to worry about and to go home.

She attended the hospital for the fourth time, on 15th September and a midwife spent more than 30 minutes trying, without success, to find the baby's heartbeat.

A second midwife was summoned and she quickly recognised that there was a clear need for an emergency caesarean section.

Nadia was rushed to the operating theatre while Steve was left to wait helplessly in the corridor for news. Baby Harry was born at 8.08am on 15th September in a very poor condition and was swiftly moved to the Neonatal Unit.

Some time later a nurse told Steve that his baby had been stillborn. However, baby Harry was in fact at this point fighting for his life on the Neonatal Unit.

Steve, whilst struggling to come to terms with the dreadful news that his son had died, wandered around and was in the hospital grounds when a security guard asked him to return to the hospital. On returning to the hospital, he discovered that his son was in fact alive.

Steve quickly made his way to the Neonatal Unit, where he found baby Harry in an incubator. Doctors broke the tragic news to him that there was little prospect of Harry living for more than one day.

Baby Harry was brought to Nadia and Steve at 3:30 that afternoon, and they were both able to hold him very briefly before he sadly died. The cause of death was later recorded as being due to oxygen starvation and septicaemia.

Following an earlier admission of liability, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has now paid out an undisclosed five figure settlement.

Nadia Jones commented: "To lose a child after carrying him for nine months is bad enough but to discover that basic errors resulted in Harry's death and that they were entirely preventable has been very difficult to cope with.

"For 4 years I felt unable to cope with work and had to give up my job as a manager of a charity shop. It's been so difficult for us to rebuild our lives and, although we are now trying to move forward, I don't think Steve or I will ever completely get over what happened."

Guy Forster, solicitor at the Midlands' offices of law firm Irwin Mitchell, who represents Mr and Mrs Jones said: "Harry would, in all likelihood, be alive and well today if Worcestershire Royal Hospital had provided adequate care and reacted to the clear warning signs that he was in distress.

"Nadia attended the hospital on three occasions, only to be told that everything was fine and that she should go home. Each time vital opportunities to intervene and deliver baby Harry safely were missed. Their grief was compounded by poor communication from the clinicians who gave them incorrect information regarding Harry's condition.

"Although the Trust admitted liability for Harry's death early on in the proceedings, it is only very recently that they have been willing to accept the emotional trauma which Nadia and Steve have suffered. Today's settlement will hopefully give them some element of closure but no amount of money can ever make up for what happened.

"Naturally they are still distressed by the loss of their son and the events which led up to it. They fervently hope that lessons have been learned so that other couples do not have to go through the heartache they have endured."