Five-Figure Payout For Birmingham Woman Following Stillbirth Of Her Baby Boy

Lawyer Calls For Reassurances After Hospital Identifies Errors By Maternity Staff

06.03.2012

A mother-of-three has spoken of her continuing heartache after her baby boy was stillborn because a midwife and two junior medics failed to summon urgent help from a senior doctor.

Celinna Carr (28) from Winson Green in Birmingham was identified as a high risk patient after two previously difficult births but said she felt ‘completely ignored’ by maternity staff when she pleaded for help, knowing instinctively something was wrong with her baby.

Her concerns over the agonising pain she was suffering were initially dismissed by both a midwife and two junior doctors. By the time a senior doctor was finally called, more than an hour and a half later, there was no trace of baby Tischaurn’s heartbeat.

An internal investigation identified clear failures by staff at Birmingham Women’s’ Hospital during Celinna’s care resulting in her baby being stillborn on 20th July 2009.

Now, medical negligence experts from Irwin Mitchell, who have secured Celinna a five figure out-of-court settlement for her loss, have called on Birmingham Women’s NHS Foundation Trust to reassure other patients that these failures have since led to the midwife and two doctors being retrained and staffing levels addressed to prevent such an avoidable tragedy from happening again.

Following complications with the birth of her first two children, Celinna had been identified as a high risk patient and was being closely monitored throughout her third pregnancy. She underwent regular scans and was told by staff at Birmingham Women’s Hospital that her baby was developing well. 

On 19th July, at 35 weeks, Celinna felt she was going into labour. However the pains became far worse than the contractions she recognised from her other children’s births and she was rushed to Birmingham Women’s Hospital.

More than 40 anxious minutes ticked by before a midwife finally examined her and wrongly suggested that the pain might be the result of a urine infection.  Celinna begged the midwife for pain relief and a scan to make sure that her baby was okay, but was told the senior doctor was too busy.

At this point the midwife mentioned that Celinna’s agonising pain might be due to a placental abruption – where the placenta becomes detached from the wall of the uterus which can cause massive blood loss to the mother and is one of the most common known causes of stillborn babies.

Despite flagging up this potentially critical problem neither the midwife nor two junior doctors who visited Celinna on three separate occasions, called for a senior doctor to review her for more than an hour and a half.

Guy Forster, a medical law expert with the Birmingham office of Irwin Mitchell solicitors, who represented Celinna, said: “This is a tragic case and Celinna has been left completely devastated by her son’s tragic and needless death.

“There were clear warning signs of placental abruption, which has serious implications for both mum and baby, and despite the fact the midwife had mentioned this to Celinna as being a possibility, urgent action was not taken. Instead the midwife and two junior doctors adopted a ‘wait and see’ approach, which sadly resulted in baby Tischaurn being stillborn.

“It is to the Trust’s credit that they undertook an internal investigation and fully admitted failings very early in legal proceedings, which spared Celinna the ordeal of a protracted legal battle.

“However, no amount of money or admissions will turn back the clock. Celinna is keen to ensure that the failures which resulted in Tischaurn’s death are not repeated and she hopes the Trust has now addressed the problems it identified regarding staffing problems and retraining to ensure other parents do not suffer such unnecessary tragedy.”

A recent report* by SANDS, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, revealed that 6,500 babies dies in the UK each year either just before, during or shortly after their birth – equivalent to 17 babies every day.

The shocking report highlights that the number of stillbirths has not changed in more than a decade and states that many hundreds of these deaths are ‘because of a trauma or event during birth that was not anticipated or well managed. These deaths when they occur… should never happen and almost always could be avoided with better care.’

Celinna, who is mum to Tiearnay (10), Dante (five) and has since given birth to Luana (20 months), said: “My boy should not have died. I had regular scans that showed that Tischaurn was developing well. For everything to go so badly wrong at the last minute has been incredibly hard to cope with.

“I was in such agony and knew something was terribly wrong. I had gone through two previous labours but the pain was quite different this time. I felt like I was completely ignored by hospital staff despite being in such agony.

“I am still grieving for the little boy I carried and it’s been difficult carrying on with normal life. I have to stay strong for my other children but it is really hard coping with the thought that they will not get to grow up with their brother.  Although I have gone on to have another baby, nothing will ever replace Tischaurn or fill the devastating hole that his death has left in my life.

“I can only hope that the Trust has learnt lessons so that no other family has to go through the heartache that I have suffered.”

If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of negligent delivery, we may be able to help you claim compensation. See our Medical Negligence Guide for more information.