Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Acknowledges “Shortcomings” In Care
A Worksop mother is calling for lessons to be learned after a hospital trust acknowledged “shortcomings” in care led to the death of her son from infection just 18 hours after he was born.
Natalie Holland, 31, was 38 weeks into her fifth pregnancy when she attended Chesterfield Royal Hospital for an induction of labour in October 2019. This was planned as she was deemed high risk due to one of her other children being treated for Group B Streptococcus infection shortly after birth.
The baby began showing signs of distress and was delivered by emergency caesarean section. Almost 11 hours later, baby Brody was noted to have breathing difficulties and was referred to a doctor.
Over the next few hours, Brody’s condition deteriorated and he required resuscitation. He died around 18-and-a-half hours after birth.
A post mortem examination confirmed the cause of death to be early onset sepsis and Group B Streptococcus.
Group B Strep is the most common cause of infection in newborns in Britain. Harmless to the estimated one in four women who carry the bacterium, it can be fatal for babies if it’s transmitted in the birth canal.
Mum instructs medical negligence lawyers after baby's death from Group B Strep
Following her son’s death, Natalie, from Creswell, instructed medical negligence experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate their care under the Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which in a letter of response has acknowledged “shortcomings in the standard of care provided.” These included a failure to ensure a process was in place to make staff aware that Brody needed further monitoring when he was born. It was also admitted that Natalie’s antenatal management plan was filed when she was admitted to the ward which meant she wasn’t reviewed by staff throughout the labour process and the previous history of Group B Strep was not “revisited.” The trust further accepted that, on the balance of probabilities, had Natalie been treated with antibiotics for Group B Strep during labour, Brody “would have survived.”
The trust issued an apology and is now working with the legal team to reach a settlement for Natalie and her family, who are sharing their story as part of Group B Strep Awareness Month.
Irwin Mitchell represents hundreds of families affected by issues in maternity care. This includes the Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals scandal where the Ockenden review is investigating more than 1,800 incidents of maternity deaths as well as injuries to babies and mums.
The law firm is campaigning to improve maternity services across the country.
Mary Mccrory, the specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Natalie, said: “Natalie has been through a traumatic ordeal and understandably she is still struggling to come to terms with losing Brody so tragically.
“Early diagnosis and treatment is key when it comes to Group B Strep, otherwise it can prove serious and sometimes fatal to newborn babies, which sadly was the case with Brody.
“Whilst we welcome the Trust’s admission that had Natalie been administered with antibiotics during the labour process
, Brody would have survived, there’s nothing that can be done to bring him back. We now call on the Trust to learn lessons from this, to avoid others from suffering like Natalie has.
“In the meantime, we’ll continue to support Natalie and her family however we can.”
Group B Strep: Natalie's story
Brody was born around 5.40am on 4 October 2019. He was restless and family members told hospital staff that Natalie and Brody were both “red hot.” However, no observations of Brody were undertaken.
Two sets of post-feed observations were carried out on Brody, at 10.20am and at 2.35pm. At 4.30pm, Natalie attempted to feed him, however he wouldn’t settle and Natalie said she noticed he was making grunting noises while breathing. She noticed these again at 5.40pm, but he was observed as ‘normal.’
At 7.15pm, the midwives handed over to the night staff and said Brody needed a full review immediately. Observations were carried out an hour later.
It was thought Brody possibly had an early infection and a plan was made for a septic screen and senior review. At 9.40pm, a paediatrician reviewed Brody and said he required immediate review and transfer to the neonatal unit. Around 15 minutes later, Brody was placed in an incubator.
At 11.25pm, Brody’s heart rate dropped and his skin colour changed. He had a red rash on his face and upper body, and his breathing was reduced. He required resuscitation, and was subsequently intubated and ventilated.
Brody was pronounced dead at 12.25am on 5 October.
Devastated mum issues Group B Strep warning
Natalie said: “Brody was my fifth child so I felt like I could tell when something wasn’t right, and I knew when he started grunting that something was wrong.
“Not for a second did I ever think I would lose him though, and being told that he had died was absolutely devastating.
“My children mean the world to me and not a day goes by when I don’t think of Brody and how I’ll never see him grow up or mark the milestones that the others have.
“It makes me so upset to think things could have turned out differently had I been treated with antibiotics, and all I want is to wind back the clock. I know that’s not possible though, so all I can hope for now is that something can be learned from my loss so others don’t have to go through what I have.”
More information on Group B Strep can be found here.
Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in handling medical negligence cases