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Grandparents Launch Legal Action Against Hospital Where Daughter Died Following Childbirth and Granddaughter Was Left Brain Damaged

Little S’riaah Djalo-Parkes will need a lifetime of around-the-clock care due to severe brain damage caused by lack of oxygen during traumatic birth in which mum died


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

Sylvia and Parbeto Parkes should have been over the moon at the birth of their grandchild, S’Riaah-Christina, on October 8, 2015.

But their joy was painfully bittersweet as no sooner had little S’Riaah, weighing 6lbs 8ozs, been welcomed into the world, they were told she had been starved of oxygen and was severely, irreversibly brain damaged.

In another devastating blow, S’Riaah’s 26-year-old mother D’Lissa Parkes went into cardiac arrest and died shortly after her emergency Caesarean section, robbed of the chance to hold her new baby in her arms.

Sylvia instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers Irwin Mitchell to investigate how S’Riaah came to be starved of oxygen during the complicated birth, which claimed the life of her daughter.

Friends of the family have launched a crowdfunding page to help them pay for the adaptions needed to enable S’Riaah, now six-months-old, to continue to live with her grandparents.

The GoFundMe page has already garnered much support in the month since it was set up, raising £1,740 of its £10,000 target.

“Losing D’Lissa was really only the start of what will be a long struggle for us all,” said Sylvia, 53, “We miss her every day, but give God thanks that she left us our beautiful S’Riaah, who is such a fighter.

“D’Lissa put her trust in the care and advice given to her by the Lewisham Hospital staff and she has paid the highest price.

“This baby was so precious to her and she could not wait to meet her. She will never get to see her greatest achievement. She has been robbed of motherhood.”

S’Riaah’s brain injury has left her suffering regular seizures and she struggles to keep food down because her muscles frequently contract causing her much pain and discomfort.

Doctors have told Sylvia that her granddaughter may never walk or speak and that if she is to stay living with her, significant changes need to be made to her home, including the creation of a downstairs bedroom and wet room.

But Sylvia said there is so little support available to her and her family to help with S’Riaah’s complex needs.

“Ours and our children’s lives where turned upside-down on the day S’Riaah was born,” said Sylvia. “We did not ever expect this to happen and we cannot believe that it has. She has a long battle ahead and we just need a little help to be able to help her through it.

“I fear for S’Riaah’s future. She will need around-the-clock care well past her childhood as well as significant changes to the house for us to help her move about.
“She has not only been robbed of her mother, but of a quality of life she would have otherwise had.

“We have had so much support from family and friends already and sincerely could not be more grateful. S’Riaah has a lot of love around her – but she needs proper professional support, as do we. We feel largely forgotten by the NHS. Few medical staff seem willing to help S’Riaah. We’ve been left out in the cold.”

Unlike most expectant mothers, D’Lissa did not arrive at Lewisham Hospital a bundle of nerves and excitement when her contractions began. In the early hours of October 8, the childcare practitioner had been discovered doubled over on the floor in floods of tears by her mum who promptly called an ambulance.

When she arrived at Lewisham Hospital she was 9cms dilated and – having been classed as a low-risk pregnancy – was allowed to go into labour naturally.

Complications set in quickly and D'Lissa was eventually rushed to theatre for an emergency Caesarean section. She was bleeding heavily and her baby's heartbeat had dropped.

S'Riaah was born shortly afterwards and was herself in very poor condition. Doctors told Sylvia and Parbeto their granddaughter had been starved of oxygen.

D’Lissa meanwhile, had lost a lot of blood and was given a transfusion. But her major organs started to fail and she suffered a cardiac arrest. She died that evening.

But the family’s heartache was not over. Doctors then told them little S’Riaah had been severely brain damaged and would be unable to breathe unaided. D’Lissa’s parents and siblings should prepare to say their goodbyes.

“We prayed for a week,” said Sylvia. “We did not want to let her go. But eventually the time came when we thought we should let her be with D’Lissa.

“The doctor told us that her brain was devastatingly damaged; that she would not be able to suck or to swallow. We were told that her brain would not tell her to breathe and that it would be just a matter of seconds and she would die.”

But as the breathing apparatus was removed, S'Riaah took her first independent breath.

“She is so strong,” said Sylvia. “She’s a real fighter, like her mother who fought so hard to stay with us.”

A pre-inquest review into D’Lissa’s death has been set for May to decide whether a full inquest will be held later this year.

Sylvia and Parbeto are hoping an inquest can give them and their children the longed-for answers as to what could have been done to potentially prevent her death.

Meanwhile the family has launched legal action against Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust regarding D’Lissa’s and S’Riaah’s care at Lewisham Hospital, whom they accuse of medical negligence around D’Lissa’s labour.

“It is bad enough that S’Riaah came into this world without a mother to hold her, but she now faces a life fraught with obstacles and indignities she should never have had to face,” said Sylvia.

“It is important for S’Riaah and us as a family that lessons are learned from his terrible, terrible event. No one should have to bury their child, but in our case this is a double tragedy and we want to ensure it can’t happen to anyone else.”

Expert Opinion
“S’Riaah is an incredibly strong little girl, but one who should never have had to endure what she has been through. She will need a lifetime of care and therapy as well as costly adaptions to her home to enable her to stay there.

“Sylvia and Parbeto, and D’Lissa’s siblings, have had to be incredibly strong for S’Riaah while still grieving the sudden loss of D’Lissa at a time when the family was supposed to be celebrating the happy arrival of a new baby.

“It is hoped that an inquest into D’Lissa’s untimely death will give Sylvia and her family the opportunity to hear from those responsible for D’Lissa and S’Riaah’s care and how events unfolded to leave S’Riaah with life changing injuries.”
Richard Kayser, Associate

The S’Riaah-Christina fund can be found here

If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of negligent delivery, we may be able to help you claim compensation. See our Medical Negligence Guide for more information.

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