Masen Rushton-Walley Died At Just Eight Days Old
A devastated couple, whose new-born son died after medical experts missed opportunities to save him, are marking Baby Loss Awareness Week 2018 by calling on healthcare providers to learn lessons from their son’s death.
Nicola and Daniel Rushton-Walley, from Stoke-on-Trent, have received an apology from the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for the failures that occurred in the care of Masen, while he was a patient at St Mary’s Hospital.
Masen was prematurely born at 28 weeks on 5th May, 2016, alongside his twin brother Kole, at Stoke University Hospital. Kole was already known to be extremely poorly and passed away six hours after birth due to persistent pulmonary hypertension, otherwise known as constant high blood pressure.
Four days after this birth, Masen was transferred to the Neonatal Unit at births Mary’s Hospital, with a suspected infection of the bowel. On 10th May, he underwent surgery to remove a small amount of damaged bowel. The surgery was a success and whilst Masen was poorly, he was considered to be stable.
Masen remained in hospital with a plan in place to wean him off his ventilator support when his condition was well enough.
On 13th May, Masen was stable and receiving low level ventilation. While a student nurse cared for Masen, his endotracheal tube became partially dislodged. This is the tube that is placed into the windpipe through the mouth or nose.
This was not immediately noted by the nurse caring for him and so when Masen was further re-positioned and the tube became fully dislodged, he quickly became starved of oxygen and his heart rate became dangerously low.
As a result, the attempts to resuscitate Masen were unsuccessful and he died around 50 minutes later at 7:21am.
After Masen’s death, Nicola and Daniel instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help them gain answers and justice for the death of Masen. Now, to mark Baby Loss Awareness Week which is being held from October 9th to 15th, they are joining with their legal team to speak out on the issue in the hope that lessons will be learned.
Housewife Nicola, 30, said: “We are still coming to terms with losing Masen and Kole, but I hope that if any good can come from our loss, it will be that lessons will be learned and that I can help other families.
“No parents should have to go through what Daniel and I have gone through. The pain is excruciating and not a day goes by where I don’t think about how if things had been done differently, Masen would still be with us now.
“That is why we are speaking out for Baby Loss Awareness Week. It is an important time for bereaved families to come together and celebrate their children’s lives.
“We truly hope that more can be done to improve care standards so that other families do not face the nightmare we have been through.”
The NHS Trust conducted a comprehensive investigation into Masen’s death and found numerous failures in the care he had been given, which amounted to a finding of catastrophic harm. These included lack of supervision of junior staff, lack of decision making aids including additional heart rate monitoring, and poor work environment design which caused delay in calling the neonatal consultant.
In the Trust’s apology letter to Nicola and Daniel, 30, said it was committed to ensuring lessons were learned to improve care and try to avoid similar failings in the future. It is now in the process of implementing changes in order to minimise the risk of it reoccurring.
Some of the changes focus on timely and effective intervention and approaches, to resuscitating infants receiving intensive care as well as ensuring that junior members of staff receive adequate supervision and support.
Emma Wagstaff, a solicitor and the medical negligence specialist at Irwin Mitchell representing Nicola and Daniel, said:
Expert Opinion“This is a truly heart-breaking incident, in which a couple has gone through something which simply no parent should have to face. While we accept that nothing could be done to prevent Kole’s death, the care Masen received was unacceptable.
“Over two years on Nicola and Daniel are still working to come to terms with their loss. While admissions of liability have been made in the case, we are now focused on ensuring they get the justice they deserve regarding Masen’s death.
“Baby Loss Awareness Week is an important time to reflect on and celebrate the lives of babies and our clients are hopeful that improvements will been seen in care after they have spoken out.” Emma Wagstaff - Associate Solicitor
Nicola and Daniel, and their two other children, fourteen-year-old Aaliyah, and Keira, 7, are involved with the Waves of Light events that take place across the world during Baby Loss Awareness Week.
The Wave of Light is a creative concept developed by English and American organisations, based on progressive candle lightings all around the world at 7pm on October 15th. If participants light and keep the candles lit for at least an hour, a Wave of Light will rise and propagate around the world for the whole day.
The local support group will meet for this year’s event outside the Stoke-On-Trent town hall at just before 7pm on 15 October 2018.
Metal worker Daniel said: “While we know that it’s important to focus on the future, not just for us, but for our daughters Aaliyah and Keira, events like this help us remember Kole and Masen. It enables us to keep them close.
“Joining up with those that have suffered a similar loss also provides support, at a time when it’s sorely needed.”
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