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Mum's Ongoing Heartache Following Inquest Into Death Of Newborn Son

Coroner Records Narrative Conclusion


Lawyers representing the heartbroken mother of a baby boy who died of catastrophic brain damage shortly after being born have spoken of her loss and concerns that more was not done to help her and her baby by maternity staff when they needed it most.

An inquest into the death of Vicki White's son, Lewis Booton-White, concluded yesterday (18 August). Lewis died in May 2013 within hours of being delivered at the Serenity Birth Centre at City Hospital in Birmingham.  

HM Coroner for Birmingham Mrs Louise Hunt recorded a narrative conclusion that: “Lewis died from acute hypoxia which occurred during labour because he had a small placenta.”

Evidence at the inquest revealed that Lewis was a small baby and there was a small placenta but that previous scanning suggested that Vicki’s baby was growing within the normal parameters. 

Vicki, from Smethwick, was told her pregnancy was progressing well, but on 19 May, when she was five days overdue, her contractions started and she began to vomit.

After being checked over by a midwife at the Serenity Unit at City Hospital who also monitored Lewis’ heart rate, she was told everything was normal and that there was no need for her to return until the baby’s head was showing.

But as time passed, Vicki felt worse. She continued to vomit and started bleeding heavily. Vicki was in so much pain that her mum had to call the midwife to get advice on her condition as she couldn’t move to get to the phone, yet the advice was still to stay at home. 

After another telephone call to the midwife 25 minutes later, the family decided to phone for an ambulance which took Vicki back to the Serenity Birthing unit. After being checked on arrival, Vicki was told her baby’s heart rate was dropping. She gave birth a short time later to Lewis who was immediately rushed away to be resuscitated.

Doctors eventually got a heartbeat but Vicki was warned if Lewis did survive, he would in all likelihood be severely brain damaged. Sadly, Lewis was too poorly to be transferred to the special baby care unit at New Cross Hospital and after having him baptised, the decision was made to remove him from life support. Lewis died in Vicki’s arms.

A Serious Incident Report compiled by the Trust following Lewis’ death highlighted a number of failures which included poor record keeping and the instructions given to her on when to return to the unit were not clear. A telephone log should have been used.

Victoria Blankstone is an expert medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office.

The family would like to thank the press for respecting their privacy at this very difficult time and will not be available for comment. 

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