Parents Left Heartbroken After Daughter Was Stillborn – NHS Admits Mistakes In Care

16.11.2015

The devastated parents of a baby delivered stillborn have spoken out of their heart-ache for the first time as the NHS Trust responsible for their daughter’s care agrees a fair settlement after admitting it failed to adequately monitor her heart rate.

Zoe Andrews, from Longford, in Coventry and her partner Craig Hands, say that they will never be able to get over the trauma of losing their daughter Evie on 1st July 2011 at University Hospital in Coventry.

The distraught couple instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the care that both Zoe and Evie received at the hospital, run by the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust. The NHS Trust admitted liability for failing to continue to monitor Evie’s heartbeat during the pregnancy.

Now expert lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have secured the couple an undisclosed out-of-court settlement from the NHS Trust to help cover the support they need to help try to overcome the trauma they say has changed their lives forever.

The 18 -year-old had a normal pregnancy and she and Craig were very much looking forward to being parents for the first time. On 29th June 2011, Zoe was 32 weeks gestation and was seen by her community midwife who detected an ‘irregular’ heartbeat and referred her to the hospital for close monitoring. However, the midwife at University Hospital thought the heartbeat was normal, despite long periods of not being able to detect it. Zoe was discharged and went home.

The following morning Zoe couldn’t feel her baby moving and became increasingly concerned as she was usually very active. She drank ice water and ate ice lollies to try and stir the baby, but nothing worked. Zoe went back to the hospital that evening and was told that her baby had died and that she would have to be induced to deliver Evie.
Expert Opinion
“This is a heart-breaking case that has seen Zoe and Craig absolutely devastated by the loss of their daughter Evie. They have both found it incredibly hard to accept what happened and have needed extensive support to help them come to terms with their loss.

“There were a number of errors made by maternity staff at the hospital including failing to monitor Evie’s heart rate and act upon basic signs which highlighted things were not right which ultimately led to Evie being stillborn.

“Whilst we welcome the admission of liability from the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust and the fair settlement agreed with the Trust, it remains very difficult and painful for the family to come to terms with the fact Evie’s death could have been avoided. We hope the medical staff learn from the errors in this case to prevent the same problems affecting others in future.”
Sara Burns, Partner

Zoe, who used to work as an Events Co-ordinator, said: “Craig and I were left completely traumatised by Evie’s death. We are still struggling to come to terms with losing her even now. We were really excited about becoming parents for the first time and my pregnancy was normal throughout and we couldn’t wait to meet her.

“I was absolutely shocked at the complete lack of respect the nurses showed Evie and myself after she was born. It stills haunts me to this day, seeing them hold and clean my daughter in a bucket just after she was delivered – it was disgraceful.

“Since losing Evie, our lives have been turned upside down and I continue to struggle to come to terms with losing her. I was unable to return to my job which I loved. I used to be very bubbly and outgoing but I know feel like a completely different person.

“I would like to thank our legal team at Irwin Mitchell for their amazing support throughout this ordeal. We are relieved that we were able to find some answers as to what went wrong whilst I was treated at University Hospital. I am pleased that the Trust admitted failings which led to Evie’s death and even though nothing will ever bring back our daughter, Craig and I can now focus on our children and rebuilding our lives.”

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.