Couple Instruct Medical Negligence Experts To Investigate Care Under Hospital Trust
A grieving East Yorkshire woman whose baby son was stillborn has spoken out on the “most difficult time” of her life to help others obtain support and raise awareness.
Gemma Thompson, 35, was 38 weeks into her first pregnancy when she was told her baby had died. Two days later, on 8 March 2020, her son Jack was delivered stillborn at Hull Royal Infirmary.
Following Jack’s death, Gemma and her husband Nigel, 59, who live in a village between York and Hull, instructed medical negligence experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her care under the Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs HRI.
Gemma, who is a member of the Facebook group set up by stillbirth and neonatal death charity Sands, has now spoken for the first time about her devastating loss. She is also joining with her legal team in marking Sands Awareness Month, a campaign which aims to reduce the number of baby deaths and raise awareness of the support available to families affected by baby loss.
Irwin Mitchell represents hundreds of families nationally who have been affected by issues in maternity care. It is campaigning to improve maternity services across the country and contributed to the Health Committee’s Maternity Safety Call for Evidence.
Expert Opinion“Gemma and Nigel have understandably spent the last two years struggling to come to terms with the ordeal they’ve been through.
Jack was Gemma’s first baby and she was looking forward to welcoming him into the world. The couple were absolutely devastated when they found out that he had died. Then to have to give birth to him two days later was heart breaking for Gemma, knowing that she wasn’t going to be bringing him home with her.
We’re now investigating the care Gemma received prior to Jack’s death. In the meantime, we’ll continue to support her as she attempts to come to terms with her loss.
She also hopes that sharing her story will help raise awareness around stillbirth and help ensure people going through similar experiences are provided with the support they need.”
Rebecca Tramaseur - Solicitor
Gemma has a complex medical history, she suffers with Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) which can cause seizures and weakness of her limbs.
She and Nigel, who works in sales, had been trying to conceive for three-and-a-half years when she fell pregnant with Jack in July 2019.
During the first few months of her pregnancy, she noted an increase in her seizures and fainting. She also noticed changes in her blood sugars and began testing these herself.
Over the following months, she attended several appointments and scans.
In January 2020, at 32 weeks pregnant, Gemma attended HRI for an antenatal assessment. Tests indicated increased sugar in her urine, however there was no further investigation and she was reassured there were no concerns with her pregnancy.
Gemma attended an antenatal appointment at 38 weeks. No concerns had been raised prior to this assessment, but sadly during this appointment Gemma was told Jack had died.
She was given medication to bring on labour and sent home. She was admitted to hospital later the following day to deliver Jack. Jack Thompson was stillborn on 8 March 2020.
Gemma, a debt advisor, said: “I found out I was pregnant with Jack the day before my birthday and I was so relieved and excited as we’d been struggling to conceive.
“I had my worries though because of my FND and this worsened during my pregnancy. However, at no point did I feel like the doctors were concerned.
“By the time I got to 38 weeks, I had been reassured time and time again that everything was okay, so to then be told our baby boy had died was a huge shock. We were absolutely devastated. The son we had been waiting for for so long had been taken from us in the worst way possible.
“To also have to go through labour when I was grieving for Jack was truly horrendous. The whole experience was nothing short of traumatic.
“Jack died at the start of the pandemic so we were not able to have a proper funeral for him, which was awful.
“Losing a child is not something you expect to happen, let alone be prepared for. Some days I really can’t cope and will shut myself away from the world. For a long time, Nigel and I couldn’t even go into Jack’s room. More than two years on, I still struggle to sleep and have flashbacks of the labour and delivery.
“I try and avoid situations where I know there will be babies or small children as I find it incredibly difficult and upsetting when I think how Jack should still be here. I even bought him a card on what would have been his first birthday.
“I know there is nothing that can be done to change what happened or bring Jack back to us. It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to go through and I’m not sure I would have got by without Nigel, my family and friends.
“I just hope that by sharing my story, it will raise awareness around stillbirths and how it’s important for people going through this to be given adequate support.”
Find out more information on Sands Awareness Month