Medical Lawyer Calls For Investigation After Hospital Admits Additional Antenatal Checks Were Needed
A West Midlands couple’s legal battle for answers following the death of their baby girl has led to a hospital admitting that they should have carried out more antenatal checks.
Rupa Jagatia (32) and her husband Minex (32), from Warstock, Birmingham, suffered every parent’s worst nightmare when baby Amelia sadly died shortly after birth at Birmingham Women’s Hospital on 6th January 2011.
Despite the couple’s concerns that the baby seemed small and a blood test, which revealed early warning signs that there was a problem, was not acted upon, Mrs Jagatia received no additional ante natal monitoring.
An internal investigation carried out by the Trust, has since revealed that if regular growth scans had been performed as they should have been, clinicians would have detected that Mrs Jagatia’s baby was small, which would have triggered an appropriate management plan for her delivery.
Now, a medical lawyer with Irwin Mitchell solicitors, who is representing the couple, is calling for a full review into what went wrong and has called for the hospital to confirm that lessons have been learned following baby Amelia’s tragic death.
Mrs Jagatia, who works as a charity account co-ordinator, first noticed something was wrong around seven months into her pregnancy when she became concerned that her ‘bump’ was not very big. She shared her worries with her midwife who measured her and said that everything was fine and the baby’s heartbeat was strong.
During the week prior to the birth, Mrs Jagatia began experiencing strong but irregular contractions and lower abdominal pain but was again reassured that everything was normal.
During the early hours of 6th January 2011, Mrs Jagatia was admitted to Birmingham Women’s Hospital. She was still suffering from extreme pain in her lower abdomen but was told by a midwife that women dealt with labour in different ways.
After more than an hour Mrs Jagatia had a tremendous urge to push. Shortly thereafter, the decision was finally made to perform a caesarean section.
Baby Amelia was born at 02.59 on 6th January but very sadly, she passed away shortly thereafter. Mrs Jagatia was later told she had suffered a placental abruption, which had caused Amelia’s death.
Laura Daly, a medical lawyer, from Irwin Mitchell solicitors in Birmingham who represents Mr and Mrs Jagatia, commented: “For Rupa to lose her first child after carrying her for nine months is in itself incredibly distressing but to then discover that the hospital’s midwifery services could have done more, has led the couple to demand answers and ask if their baby might still be alive if Rupa had received better care during her pregnancy.
“Although we are in the very early stages of investigating their claim, the internal inquiry carried out by the Trust leads me to fear that there were not only errors by individuals but there may be more serious, deep-rooted system failures.
“The Trust has now admitted that blood tests taken early during Rupa’s pregnancy showed raised levels of Alpha Feto Protein (AFP). This was an early warning sign that there were problems and yet it appears this test result was not acted upon nor communicated in Rupa’s antenatal notes.
“I hope the Trust will act now to offer both a formal admission of liability in Rupa’s care and also review maternity services at the hospital to safeguard future patients’ welfare.”
Rupa Jagatia said: “It has been very difficult for Minex and me to cope with what has happened. This was our first child and we had spent nine months planning for her arrival. It is so distressing to think that if I had received better care throughout my pregnancy and labour, Amelia may have been with us today.
“Throughout my time at the hospital, I felt that my concerns were disregarded and that we were an inconvenience to the staff. I felt I was shown very little care and attention and Minex had to continually go and find the midwife as she kept leaving the room.
“Because Amelia was our first child, neither of us knew what to expect and we put our trust in the midwives who were supposed to be taking care of us. We would like more children in the future but the memories of Amelia are still so raw and the thought of being in hospital and having to trust medical professionals again is very difficult. I just hope that the Trust learns lessons from what has happened and that no other family has to experience the tragedy of losing a child in such circumstances.”