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Our medical negligence lawyers have helped a Derbyshire woman secure a compensation settlement and an apology after she lost her child due to mistakes made at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport.
Joanne Farrar, from Ashbourne, knew she was in labour when severe pain and discomfort started on July 7th 2014. She had already had two difficult pregnancies so knew well what labour felt like. She drove herself to the hospital and told doctors just that.
They did not believe her, however – they just thought she had a urinary tract infection. They tested Joanne for an infection and her results came back clear. The doctors still didn’t believe her, though, giving her a new diagnosis of constipation along with the appropriate medication.
“I was in utter disbelief as no one was listening to me,” said Joanne. “I did everything I was told by hospital staff, so was stunned when I had some issues with them.”
“At one point I overheard a doctor refusing to examine me and calling me a ‘time-waster’, while it was also suggested that I have a natural birth despite the issues with my previous pregnancies. It was an incredibly upsetting time.”
Joanne attempted to go to the toilet to prove that she wasn’t constipated but instead passed a large amount of blood. It was only at this point that doctors finally believed that she was in labour and delivered Joanne’s daughter Ava via a planned caesarean section.
It was tragically too late. Ava began to suffer seizures just two hours after being born. She was transferred to Royal Oldham Hospital, where staff noted that she had suffered severe brain damage and put her on life support.
Ava died five days later when her life support was turned off.
A post-mortem showed that Ava had developed properly but had been deprived of oxygen. An inquest concluded that she had died of natural causes contributed to by neglect. The coroner criticised hospital staff for missing “the almost blindingly obvious point” that Joanne was in labour.
Joanne and her husband contacted our expert pregnancy claims solicitors to help them seek answers and ensure justice for Ava. We were able to get an admission of liability and a letter of apology from Stockport NHS Foundation Trust as well as a compensation settlement.
The couple have now urged that their ordeal never happens again to anyone else. “We faced the decision of having to turn Ava’s life support off and it was the hardest thing that James and I have ever done,” said Joanne. “I felt like I had given up on my baby and I remain devastated that I had to do it in the first place.
“I cannot help but think that if I had been treated somewhere other than Stepping Hill this may not have happened. Ava was never given a chance at life and to spend time with her brother and sister and this remains incredibly hard to take. All I wish is that someone had taken me seriously and listened to what I was saying.
“My only wish at this point is that, following our legal action, steps have been taken to ensure no other families face the same horrible ordeal that we have been through.”
Gayle Palmer is a medical negligence solicitor from our Manchester office that worked with Joanne. “While nothing will ever change what happened,” she said, “we are delighted to have helped them gain justice, answers and an apology regarding what they endured. Stepping Hill Hospital has faced much criticism in recent times and it is vital that every effort is made to improve the quality of care provided to patients.”
If you or a loved one has also suffered due to mistakes made during delivery, our medical negligence solicitors may be able to help you make a claim and get answers for what happen. Contact us online or call us free on 0370 1500 100.
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