Lawyers Instructed After Report Into Delivery Of Son Raises Care Concerns
During Baby Loss Awareness Week, a Suffolk couple left devastated when their baby was stillborn two years ago have instructed medical negligence lawyers to investigate the care they received and help them gain answers regarding how he died.
Baby Loss Awareness Week, which is supported by a number of charities, is an opportunity to raise awareness about the issues that can happen in pregnancy and with baby loss. It is also a chance to call for and promote improvements in services, support, research or policy around bereavement support.
Rachael and Julian Knights have revealed how they were stunned to be told that their son William had passed away after he was delivered with forceps at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital late on November 19th 2015.
Following William’s death, a serious incident report by Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust highlighted a series of concerns related to the care that Rachael and William received.
These included communication issues which meant a concerning foetal heart monitoring trace was not shared with senior doctors and also that there was a failure to repeat tests which may have led to an emergency caesarean being undertaken and the earlier delivery of William.
In light of the report’s findings, Rachael and Julian asked Irwin Mitchell’s Medical Negligence team to help them gain answers about what happened to William and whether lessons can be learned to prevent others facing the same devastating problems.
Gurpreet Lalli, the specialist lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Cambridge office who is representing the family, said:
Expert Opinion“No parent should have to face that Rachael and Julian have been through and, while the report into the incident has shed some light on what happened, they are understandably keen for more answers about the issues which led to William’s death.
“It is absolutely vital that every effort is made to prevent the same issues Rachael and Julian have faced from being repeated again in the future.” Gurpreet Lalli - Associate Solicitor
Rachael Knights’ pregnancy was classed as a low-risk and she had experienced no issues during her antenatal care. She was admitted to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on the morning of November 19th and, after tests confirmed her waters had broken, she was transferred to the delivery suite.
She recalled: “I had absolutely no concerns about my care throughout the morning and it was only from the early afternoon that I became aware of a lot more examinations being carried out.
“I was examined all afternoon, by different people but no one ever informed of what was happening. The midwife suggested an epidural as she was concerned by the level of pain I was experiencing and so, as I had agreed to in my birth plan, I followed the midwife’s advice.
“The heightened attention I was being given, coupled with the lack of explanation as to why I was getting the attention, was very concerning and unsettling.”
After some decelerations were noted on the foetal heart monitoring, a plan was put together for William to be delivered via forceps in theatre. Rachael arrived in theatre at 22:33 and William was delivered at 23:01.
Rachael added: “I was told prior to the delivery that William might need a little bit of care when he was born and then he would be passed to me and when he came out he was given to the waiting team.
“However, there was some commotion and confusion and finally a doctor said he had died. I instantly just felt sick.”
Rachael added: “It has been incredibly difficult to deal with the loss of William and while we have been fortunate to have another healthy baby boy in recent weeks, we are yet to come to terms with what happened two years ago.
“We just feel we deserve to know how he passed away and whether anything more could or should have been done to prevent it from happening.”
“As William’s was stillborn an inquest was not held to investigate the cause of his death, we felt that legal action was the only way we could get these answers. We hope by taking this step that standard of care will improve and others will not face the heartbreak we have been through.”