Pair Ask Medical Negligence Lawyers To Investigate Care Under Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
A couple have spoken of their devastation after their “miracle” IVF baby died aged two-days-old.
Melissa Ayton started bleeding and suffering from abdominal cramps 26 weeks into her first pregnancy. She and partner, Thomas Hind, attended Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.
Doctors said Melissa was in labour but they were unable to prolong it. Scans found baby, Jacob Hind, to be in breech position, but a decision was made to try and proceed with a natural delivery.
After Melissa’s waters spontaneously broke it was identified that the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s leg. Melissa was taken to surgery for an emergency delivery.
When Jacob was born he wasn't breathing. He had to be resuscitated and was transferred to neo-natal intensive care. However, his condition continued to deteriorate.
Melissa and Thomas ask lawyers to investigate family's maternity care
Following Jacob’s death Melissa and Thomas, of County Durham, instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate their care under Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and secure answers.
The couple, aged 26 and 27 respectively, have now joined their legal team in supporting Baby Loss Awareness Week. Melissa and Thomas want to raise awareness of what they’ve been through in a bid to help others.
Samantha Williams is a specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing the couple.
Expert Opinion“Melissa and Thomas were overjoyed when they found out they were expecting Jacob.
“Understandably, not only do they remain devastated by the traumatic events that unfolded, Melissa and Thomas also have questions about Jacob’s death.
“While nothing can make up for their loss, we’re determined to support Melissa and Thomas so they at least can be provided with all of the answers they deserve.
“Sadly through our work we too often see the devastating consequences families can be left to face following the death of a baby.
“Baby Loss Awareness Week is an important campaign in raising awareness of the issues families continue to face and the help and support available.” Samantha Williams
Baby loss: Melissa's and Thomas' story
After Melissa started bleeding, they attended the maternity assessment unit at the RVI at 10pm on 31 October, 2021. Melissa was around three centimeres dialted and had a scan which showed Jacob was in a transverse lie - meaning that he was lying horizontally. Melissa was subsequently transferred to the delivery suite in the early hours of the following morning.
At around 7am on 1 November, 2021, a further ultrasound found Jacob was in the oblique breech position – meaning his bottom was coming first and he was lying diagonally.
At 4.15pm Melissa’s waters broke and she was told to push. A midwife then noticed that Jacob’s leg could be felt with the umbilical cord wrapped around it. The emergency buzzer was called and Melissa was taken to theatre. Jacob was born at 4.30pm in a poor condition and was transferred to neonatal intensive care.
After Jacob started developing seizures the following day, a decision was made to withdraw intensive care, He died at 7pm on 3 November.
Tests found he had suffered a bleed on the brain and had been starved of oxygen.
Melissa reveals devastating impact of baby Jacob's death and support they've received
Melissa said: “Jacob was our miracle baby, we were so lucky to be pregnant after our first round of IVF. We were so excited for our future.
“Whilst slightly nervous given Jacob was an IVF baby, my pregnancy seemed to be progressing well and no concerns were raised at any of my appointments.
“Seeing Jacob so poorly in hospital broke our hearts and is something that will stay with us forever.”
Melissa and Thomas were supported by Team Evie, a charity that supports families with sick children going through challenges.
Melissa said: “After Jacob had passed away we were asked if we would like to take Jacob home with us until his funeral to spend some time with him in our own home.
“We immediately said yes, however this was only possible if there was a ‘cuddle cot’ available for us to use. Team Evie have a cuddle cot loan service and they travelled all the way from Cumbria to allow us to take Jacob home.
“The support Team Evie gave us was amazing and they gave us the chance to spend quality time with Jacob and allow family members to meet him, which we will treasure forever.
“Team Evie hold a huge place in our hearts and we will forever be grateful to them for what they did for us.”
Melissa and Thomas were also supported by 4Louis, a UK charity that works across the country to support anyone affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and the death of a baby or child.
Melissa said: “4Louis provided us with an amazing memory box. They also sell candles for the wave of light for Baby Loss Awareness Week where the babies name can be written on and all money goes to charity. We have bought one of those.”
Melissa also said that the counselling she received from the RVI was “amazing”.
County Durham couple want to honour Jacob's memory by establishing answers
After Jacob’s death, Melissa and Thomas found out they were expecting again after having IVF. Baby Sofia was born in December 2022.
Melissa added: “After everything that happened, we were both really nervous through my pregnancy with Sofia. It was such a relief when we welcomed her into the world but also a time of such mixed emotions knowing she would never get to meet her big brother.
“We feel so blessed that we have Sofia but it still breaks our hearts that Jacob isn’t at home with us. We’ll never forget Jacob, he’ll always be a part of our family and Sofia will grow up knowing all about him.
“However, we feel we owe it to Jacob to at least get the answers he deserves regarding his death. All we can do now is share what happened to us to make other parents aware. People shouldn’t have to go through the grief of losing a baby alone as help and support is available.”
Baby loss support available
Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting families affected by issues in maternity care at our dedicated birth injuries section. Alternatively, to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.