Parents Instruct Medical Negligence Lawyers To Investigate Care Provided To Mum And Baby
A heartbroken couple’s baby was pronounced stillborn after a mum, complaining of reduced movement, was wrongly sent home from hospital without a specialist review.
Jessica Read was 37 weeks into her second pregnancy when she reported feeling reduced fetal movements during a routine community antenatal appointment. She was referred to the direct assessment unit at Salisbury District Hospital on 21 September 2021.
She underwent tests including bloods and a cardiotocograph (CTG), which monitors the baby’s heartbeat. Blood tests indicated pre-eclampsia – a type of high blood pressure that can lead to complications in mums and babies. However, Jessica wasn’t advised to remain in hospital and was sent home before her abnormal blood test results were known and without a face-to-face review from an obstetrician being carried out. If she had undergone an obstetric review, this would have provided an opportunity for the complexity of her pregnancy to be recognised and an immediate induction of labour would have been commenced.
Later that evening, Jessica, aged 28, phoned the hospital and reported not having felt her baby move for two hours. The clinician documented a possible abruption and she was advised to call an ambulance as soon as possible.
When Jessica arrived at hospital, a CTG and ultrasound scan were carried out, with no heartbeat detected. Jessica and her husband, Ian 37, were told that their baby daughter, Lillie, had died. An abruption of the placenta was confirmed at delivery.
A placental abruption is a maternal and fetal emergency. It is when the placenta partially or completely shears away from the uterine wall causing bleeding in the uterus and disrupting the blood supply to the baby.
Jessica also suffered a major obstetric haemorrhage with over 2 litres of blood loss following the placental abruption.
Following Lillie’s death, Jessica and Ian instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate mum and baby’s care under Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Salisbury Hospital, and help them access the specialist support they require.
The couple are now joining their legal team in supporting Baby Loss Awareness Week by calling for lessons to be learned.
It comes after the Trust, through NHS Resolution, admitted a breach of duty.
It admitted that a review which would have indicated pre-eclampsia, wasn’t carried out. If it had, the findings would then have led to Jessica being “recommended to undergo immediate induction of labour.”
The Trust also admitted Jessica “should have received a direct review from the obstetrics team” and should have been advised to wait at the hospital for the results of her blood tests – which were abnormal.
It also stated that “on the balance of probabilities”, had Lillie been delivered earlier, she “would have survived.”
The Trust has apologised for the “shortcomings in the care” provided to Jessica.
Expert Opinion“The past two years have been incredibly difficult for Jessica and Ian as they continue to try and come to terms with their tragic loss.
"Understandably, Jessica and Ian have struggled to overcome their ordeal especially while having so many concerns over the care provided prior to Lillie’s death.
“Whilst nothing can make up for their loss we’re pleased that we’ve at least been able to provide the couple with the answers and we now acknowledge the Trust’s admissions.
“However, sadly, through our work we see too many families left heartbroken as a result of maternity failings.
"It’s now vital that lessons are learned from this case to improve maternity safety.” Alice Fitzgerald Miller, Medical Negligence lawyer
Jessica, a rota co-ordinator for 111, and Ian, a retail worker at a landscaping company have been married for 2 years.
They are also parents to eight-year-old Isabelle and 13 month old Fletcher.
Jessica said: “We were delighted when we found out we were expecting another baby and Isabelle was really excited to become a big sister.
“I knew something wasn’t right when I started feeling Lillie move less. But not for one minute did I expect to be told my baby girl had died.
“Not to return home from the hospital as a family of four was devastating. For a long time, I kept hoping I would wake up and it wasn’t real.
“To then find out that more could have been done to save her is heart-breaking and something I don’t think I’ll ever get over.
“It’s been two years now since we lost Lillie and not a day goes by where we don’t think of her and how she would be growing up with Isabelle guiding her and having Fletcher to play with.
"If I’d have known how serious the situation was and that it was best for me to stay in hospital there’s no way I’d have let them discharge me before my blood tests came back. However, I was never given the impression that there was anything to worry about and nobody told me that it was best if I remained in hospital.
“While nothing can change what happened, something needs to be learned from our tragedy to help prevent it happening to other families. I wouldn’t wish what we’ve been through on anyone.”
Baby Loss Awareness Week runs from 9 to 15 October 2023.