NHS Trust Admits Failures Resulted In Stillbirth Of Longed-For Baby Conceived Through IVF

Medical Negligence Lawyers Secure Settlement For Parents Left Heartbroken By Loss Of Baby Girl

18.11.2014

A couple have spoken of their on-going heartache after an NHS Trust admitted ‘unforgiveable’ failures contributed to the death of their unborn daughter who they had struggled to conceive for six years. 

Wendy and Chris Pratt, from Filey in North Yorkshire, were overjoyed to learn a course of IVF treatment had been successful in 2009 and that they were expecting a baby girl. 

But midwifery staff at Scarborough Hospital failed to recognise vital signs their baby Matilda was in distress, resulting in her being delivered stillborn on 20 April 2010 at 27 weeks and one day premature.

Devastated by their loss, the couple instructed medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate what more could have been done to help their baby and to help them gain access to psychological support after suffering severe depression.

Expert evidence commissioned by the leading law firm found that despite midwifery staff informing Wendy when she was just 20 weeks pregnant that her baby was smaller than expected and that she would need to be closely monitored, it was another seven weeks before a CTG and a scan was provided for her baby.

On 17th April 2010 a CTG and two ultrasounds showed the baby had restricted growth and poor blood flow through the baby’s umbilical cord, yet staff sought no second opinion and Wendy was even told she could go home. Wendy readmitted herself because of the continued lack of foetal movements. Another ultrasound was performed and on the 20th April they were transferred to Leeds General Infirmary for another scan and a CTG. Because of the delay, by this time the baby’s prognosis was poor. Her heart rate started to drop as Wendy was prepared for an emergency C-section. Matilda was delivered by emergency caesarean and could not be resuscitated.

York Teaching Hospital NHS Trust admitted that had a repeat CTG trace been performed during Wendy’s admission on 17 April 2010, Matilda would, on the balance of probabilities, have been born alive. They have now agreed to pay an undisclosed settlement to the couple to cover the pain and suffering they have endured and to provide access to on-going psychological support.

Expert Opinion
This is a tragic case that has left Wendy and Chris absolutely devastated by the loss of their longed-for daughter Matilda. They have both found it incredibly difficult to accept what happened and they have needed extensive support to help them come to terms with their loss.

“What is clear is that the midwives made a number of errors and failed to detect and act upon basic signs which highlighted things were not right and ultimately led to Matilda being stillborn.

“Whilst we welcome the admission of liability from the Trust and settlement, it remains very difficult and painful for the family to come to terms with the fact Matilda’s death could have been avoided. All of this has placed an enormous strain on both Wendy and Chris and sadly further attempts at IVF have been unsuccessful. They have lost a daughter and understandably find it so difficult to come to terms with this.”
Sarah Coles, Partner
Wendy, 36, a microbiologist, said: “No words can describe how devastating it was for Chris and I to lose Matilda; she was our first child and was so precious to us that we couldn’t believe she hadn’t made it. It felt like our world had fallen apart in front of us.

“I suffered from severe depression and I wasn’t able to focus on anything. I also no longer work in my job. Chris and I are still coming to terms with what happened to Matilda and I don’t think we will ever fully get over losing our first child.

“We are relieved that the Trust admitted liability for the unforgiveable errors made in mine and Matilda’s care at the hospital, but nothing will ever bring my daughter back. Matilda was a much wanted baby and we went through so much to conceive her through IVF.

“I am very concerned when I continue to hear that maternity services are over stretched across the country and that staff are forced to work longer hours than they should which, in my opinion, results in reduced focus and concentration and corners being cut in order to cope with many patients at the same time.“

“I have lost all faith in the midwifery staff at Scarborough Hospital and the Trust has made no effort to reassure Chris and I that lessons have been learnt to prevent anyone else from going through the same ordeal. It won’t turn back the clock but it will at least give us some peace of mind that Matilda’s death was not in vain.”
 

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