Parents And Medical Negligence Lawyers Call For Lessons To Be Learned After Hospital Trust Admits Breach Of Duty
A couple are calling for lessons to be learned after their daughter was stillborn five days after they were sent home from hospital without a specialist review.
Emily Hart and Liam Ingram attended Royal Berkshire Hospital concerned about reduced movement of their baby and Emily complaining of some pain. Following heart rate monitor tests and an examination, Emily - who was 39 weeks pregnant - and Liam, were sent home just over six hours later on 21 July, 2021, despite Liam pleading three times for Emily to be induced.
Couple denied specialist medical review sent home from Reading hospital with advice leaflet
The couple were given an early labour advice leaflet but hadn’t been seen by an obstetrician to discuss Emily, of Reading, being induced.
On 25 July, four days after they were sent home, Emily complained of stomach pains. She was initially advised to stay at home following a telephone assessment. However, she was admitted to hospital 12 hours later at around 11.55pm, following a second phone call to the hospital.
Medics couldn’t hear the baby’s heart rate. Following scans, the couple were told in the early hours of 26 July that their baby had died. Emily was induced and delivered baby Luna around 15 hours later.
Emily and Liam ask medical negligence lawyers to investigate maternity care
Following Luna’s death, Emily, aged 26, and Liam, aged 27, instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate their care under Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust.
The Trust admitted not offering the couple an obstetric review to discuss Emily being induced before they were sent home on 21 July was a breach of duty. Through NHS Resolution it admitted that had a review been offered, and accepted, then Luna would on balance have been delivered earlier, and would have survived.
Trust agrees settlement following admission of breach of duty
Irwin Mitchell has secured an undisclosed settlement for Emily and Liam from the Trust which will help them access the specialist support they require to try and come to terms with their loss. The couple have since moved to Bilston, near Wolverhampton, to be closer to Liam’s family.
Expert Opinion“What should’ve been such a joyous time for Emily and Liam ended in heartbreak with Luna’s death. Both Emily and Liam are adamant that they would’ve gone ahead with an induction of labour if they’d been offered it and are devastated this opportunity was not given to them.
“While nothing can make up for what Emily and Liam have been through, we’re pleased that the Hospital Trust has worked with us to not only provide Emily and Liam with the answers they deserve but also access to the specialist support they require following Luna’s death.
“Sadly, we continue to see too many families left devastated by care failings. Therefore, it’s now vital that lessons are learned from this case to help improve maternity safety for others.” Sophie Smethurst
Baby loss: Emily Hart and Liam Imgram's story
Emily and Liam attended hospital just after 9pm on 20 July, 2021. A computerised cardiotocography (CTG) scan of Luna’s heart was started and stopped around 30 minutes later. It was re-started at about 10.25pm. However, there was nothing in Emily’s notes recording why the CTG was re-started or the results.
The couple were sent home just after 3.30am the following day with the early labour advice leaflet.
Emily called the hospital’s maternity triage line on the morning of 25 July complaining of lower abdominal pain. She was advised to stay at home. She was admitted late that night after phoning the hospital again complaining of pain.
Following scans, Emily and Liam were told that Luna had died. Emily was induced, delivering Luna just after 4pm on 26 July.
Emily reveals heart-break of baby Luna's death
Emily said: “Liam and I were so excited and spoke at length about what we’d do when Luna was born. We were the most well-prepared parents. We had a pram, a pushchair, a crib and a Moses basket, all ready for Luna. I had bought six big boxes full of baby clothes and the entire nursery was kitted out. We had bottles, formula, nappies, wipes and cleaners, everything you could possibly need.
“I was concerned that Luna wasn’t moving as much as she had so we thought the thing would be to go to hospital and get checked out.
“As well as being worried about Luna’s reduced movements, I was in quite a lot of pain, so we asked if it was possible for me to be induced. However, we were told no as it would be detrimental Luna’s health, although we were not told why. We were told everything would be fine and I was sent home. It felt like we were just dismissed as we were young parents.
“When we went back to hospital nothing prepared us for finding out that Luna had died. We were absolutely devastated and having to give birth to Luna was traumatic.
“Afterwards I spent five days in hospital and we treasured what time we got to spend with Luna. All we wanted to do was bring Luna home with us. Having to leave hospital and her behind was heart-breaking.”
In April 2022 the couple found out they were expecting again. Emily gave birth to their son, Ruben, last November.
Emily said: “When we found out we were expecting again it was a time of real mixed emotions. We were happy but apprehensive because of everything that happened to Luna.
“I felt like I couldn’t carry a baby to full-term and it was agreed with the hospital from an early stage that I’d be induced early as I didn’t want to go over the mark when I felt I should’ve been induced with Luna. If I had been told I had to go over this, I don’t think I would have coped.
Liam calls for lessons to be learned to improve patient safety
Liam said: “We feel so blessed to have Ruben in our lives but it remains difficult not to think how Luna should be at home with us, growing and developing and creating mischief with her little brother.
“We’d 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. By speaking out we just hope lessons can be learned as we wouldn’t wish what we’re going through on anyone.”
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