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Couple speak out over negligent hospital staff

Negligent hospital staff


A couple have spoken of their heartache following the stillbirth of their daughter caused by negligent hospital staff.

Nicola Walker, 23, from Harlow, was admitted to Princess Alexandra Hospital for the delivery of her first child, Lucy, on September 18, 2004.

During the labour hospital staff failed to act on signs of distress on a trace of Lucy's heart rate shortly after 5pm and, instead of arranging for Mrs Walker to undergo a caesarean section as was appropriate, encouraged her to go to the hospital canteen.

When monitoring restarted at 7pm, they again failed to notice that the CTG machine jammed for over 20 minutes. As a result when Lucy's condition deteriorated it was not detected until after 9pm. 

A decision was taken to deliver the baby by caesarean section but by then it was too late. Lucy was delivered still born at 9.30pm.

Negligent hospital staff should have "paid attention"

Mrs Walker said: "I just wish the staff had paid attention to the warning signs and taken action to deliver Lucy when she began to show signs of distress. If they had, Lucy would be with us now.

"This has made such an impact on our lives and our families."

Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, has agreed to settle the claim out of court. Mrs Walker and husband Kevin, 29, have stressed that taking legal action was not about the money.

Mrs Walker said: "We want to make people aware of the situation at the hospital. It was a simple lack of midwifery care. The hospital tried to deny it and just kept pushing for a post mortem but we knew what went wrong - Lucy suffocated because they never got her out quick enough."

She added: "The NHS is supposedly meant to be getting better but people are getting neglected. We won't go to accident and emergency or deal with doctors in Harlow since it happened. If anything major comes up, or if we do have another baby, then we will go to Addenbrookes in Cambridge or Broomfield in Chelmsford."

The couple visit the baby section at Harlow Crematorium every week to grieve for Lucy, and they hope to have another baby in the future.

Mr Walker said: "Since the moment we held Lucy it was hard to let go - we want that feeling again."

An NHS Litigation Authority spokesman conveyed Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust's regret, adding: "This is a tragic occurrence. The trust acknowledge that they could have done better and have compensated accordingly. Everyone at the trust was sympathetic to the injured party and is glad this compensation claim was settled so quickly."

If you or someone you know has been effected by a similar incident, our solicitors can help claim for compensation. Fill in our online claims form for free advice.