Couple Join Medical Negligence Lawyers In Calling For Lessons To Be Learned
A grieving couple are calling for lessons to be learned after a Hospital Trust admitted a two-day delay in inducing a mum caused their baby son’s death.
Helen Brotherton, of Newport, Isle of Wight, visited St Mary’s Hospital on 5 June and 7 June, 2020, complaining of reduced movement of her baby in the womb.
On her second visit, Helen, who was full term with her first child, was induced. Helen’s and husband Ed’s son, Troy, was delivered stillborn.
Medical negligence lawyers investigate Isle of Wight family's care
Helen, 32, and Ed, 36, instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her care under Isle of Wight NHS Trust.
The couple are now using Baby Loss Awareness Week to speak for the first time about their ordeal.
Hospital Trust admits breach of duty
It comes after the Trust admitted a breach of duty. It admitted that doctors should have offered an induction of labour to Helen on 5 June. If the Trust had, on the balance of probabilities, Troy would not have been stillborn, it added.
Irwin Mitchell is campaigning to improve maternity services across the country and has also contributed to the Health Committee’s Maternity Safety Call for Evidence.
Expert Opinion“Helen and Ed are understandably traumatised by Troy’s death. Their story is a stark reminder of the devastation families can be left to face as a result of avoidable failings in maternity care.
“While nothing can make up for their loss we’re pleased that we’ve been able to provide the family with the answers they deserve. We thank the Trust for its swift admissions which has spared Helen and Ed the ordeal of having to prolong their case.
“We’re now working with the Trust to fully resolve the issues identified in the case so Helen and Ed can try and look to the future the best they can.
“However, it’s vital that lessons are learned to improve patient care for others. We’ll continue to campaign to improve maternity safety.” Justine Spencer - Partner
Medical negligence: Helen and Ed Brotherton's story
On 3 June last year, at 38 weeks, Helen attended a routine community midwife appointment. She raised concerns Troy’s movements had been reduced. However, Helen was not told to attend the hospital’s maternity day assessment unit straight away.
Two days later Helen called the hospital’s maternity ward concerned about further reduced movement in the womb. Following a scan of Troy’s hart rate Helen was allowed home.
However, her legal team said that because Helen was overdue with Troy and it was the second time she complained of reduced movement, staff should not have been reassured by the scan. Helen’s care should have been escalated to more senior doctors for review and potential induction of labour.
On 7 June Helen returned to hospital concerned about Troy’s movements. His heart rate could not be found. Helen was induced. Troy was delivered stillborn the following day.
The Trust also admitted that Helen was not appropriately risk assessed during her appointment on 3 June and she should have been advised to attend hospital straight away.
Couple wants lessons learned after son's stillbirth
Helen, a baby room manager, said: “We were overjoyed by the prospect of being parents. It was something we had always wanted, and because of certain personal health issues, felt incredibly lucky to be expecting Troy.
“I was really worried that Troy’s movements had started to reduce. However, at no stage did it feel like staff seemed concerned.
“I tried not to fear the worst and stay positive but it was heartbreaking when we were told that we had lost Troy.
“Ed and I got to spend some time with him in hospital but it wasn’t enough. Having to leave Troy knowing we wouldn’t be able to bring him home to start our new lives together is something I don’t think we’ll ever get over.”
Helen and Ed support Baby Loss Awareness Week
Ed, a principal operations manager, added: “Knowing things would probably have been different if Helen and Troy had received the care they deserved is the hardest thing to accept.
“It’s difficult not to feel upset and angry by what happened and not think of how Troy would be growing and developing if he hadn’t have been let down.
“We would give anything to turn back the clock and for things to be different but we know that’s not possible. All we can do now is share what happened to us to make other parents aware and urge hospitals to review their procedures and improve care where needed.
“We also want to let others going through the same emotions as us following the loss of a baby that it’s not their fault. They don’t have to suffer alone. Baby Loss Awareness Week is an important reminder that there is help and support available.”
Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting families affected by maternity care issues at our dedicated birth injuries section. Alternatively to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.
Baby Loss Awareness Week runs from 9-15 October. For more information visit The Fir Grove Centre’s website at www.thefirgrovecentre.org.uk