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Mother Supports Birth Trauma Awareness Day Following Stillbirth

Mother Supports Birth Trauma Awareness Day Following Stillbirth



A devastated mum who has called on medical law experts at Irwin Mitchell for help after her baby was still born has today spoken of her support for Birth Trauma Awareness Day.

Rachael Burdett (24) from Broadwaters in Kidderminster, suffered the worst possible birth trauma when her second child, John-Lee Smith, was delivered stillborn on 16th June 2009.

Rachael’s pregnancy progressed well until around 36 weeks, although she was admitted to hospital at 22 weeks pregnant because she was worried that the baby’s movements had become less frequent.

At 36 weeks Rachael began to suffer from hot flushes and pains in her stomach.  She could feel the baby pushing down and went to hospital for a scan where midwives considered bringing the delivery forward by four weeks because of concerns that the placenta was not functioning properly, but decided against it following investigations. 

Rachael was seen each week at the hospital and continued to report reduced movements, down to two a day.  At around 37 weeks the midwife from Rachael’s GP surgery sent her to Kidderminster Hospital.  While Rachael was on a monitor, the baby moved twice in the space of an hour and, although she was reassured by the midwives and sent home, she remained worried.
The baby’s movements remained infrequent and on 15th June she phoned the Worcestershire Royal Hospital because she could feel no movement at all and was told to come in.  Her partner, John, took her to the hospital. Staff there informed Rachael that they could not find the baby’s heart beat and a scan revealed that the baby had died.   Rachael was told she needed to deliver normally.  The staff broke her waters but there was no fluid.  John-Lee was delivered by forceps on the morning of 16th June.

Rachael has now asked medical law expert, Guy Forster, from Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, to investigate whether more could have been done by the hospital to spot that there were problems with her pregnancy and whether earlier intervention might have saved John-Lee’s life.

Rachael says: “I am still grieving for the little boy I carried and it’s been difficult carrying on with normal life.  This tragedy has impacted on us all, including our son Jason, who continues to ask about his brother, which I find very difficult.”
As a result of what happened to her, Rachael is also calling for more parents to be aware of the help available from the Birth Trauma Association.

She added: “At the time of John-Lee’s death I didn’t know about the Birth Trauma Association, but having another parent to talk to who has experienced similar emotions would have been a real life-line.”