0370 1500 100

Birmingham Woman Who Suffered Stillbirth Calls For Lessons To Be Learned

Mum Wanting To Raise Awareness Of Support Available Calls For Care Improvements

12.07.2018

Andrew Hewitt, Press Officer | 0114 274 4255

A devastated woman who faced the trauma of stillbirth at Birmingham Women’s Hospital is calling on the NHS to learn lessons from her case and ensure more support is offered to parents that go through the ordeal.

Fiona McGrath has spoken out about how she is continuing to struggle with the heartbreak of losing her child at the hospital in December 2016, with a subsequent report into her case highlighting that her son's death could have been avoided.

The 43-year-old wants to raise awareness of stillbirth and neonatal death and the impact that such devastating problems have on families. She is also wanting to raise awareness of the support parents are able to receive from charities such as SANDS.

Fiona is represented by medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office, who are working to investigate her case and help her gain answers from Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Foundation Trust regarding what she has been through.

Emma Garner, the legal expert at Irwin Mitchell representing Fiona, said: “The loss of a child is something no parent should ever have to face, yet sadly Fiona not only experienced the trauma of stillbirth but she has learned that the standard of care her family received should have been higher.

“Sadly through our work, we have seen the terrible impact that stillbirth and neonatal death have on so many lives.

“It is vital that healthcare providers learn lessons from each and every case of this kind, so that ultimately standards improve and the same problems never emerge again in the future.”

Background

Fiona’s pregnancy with Noah was her eleventh and she had faced no complications throughout. Prior to a planned induction she was receiving a second membrane sweep on 9 December, 2016, when she mentioned to experts that her fetal movements had been reduced.

She was referred to the maternity unit at Birmingham Women’s Hospital but was sent home after tests had shown good movement and a normal heart rate. At 11pm her waters broke and upon arrival back at the hospital there were concerns regarding the fetal heart rate and plans were put in place for a caesarean section.

She recalled: “I was awake throughout my time in theatre and while there was a lot of talking nothing was happening. I started to get very distraught and demanded that they get my baby out, but no one was listening to what I saying. It was horrific.”

Fiona was then returned to a room where her partner was waiting and he told her he had already been told that Noah had died. Fiona then had to give deliver her stillborn child naturally after her terrible ordeal.

A subsequent investigation by the NHS Trust found there were failures by the whole team in theatre and a communication breakdown. It specifically concluded that midwifery staff were too focused on locating a heart rate when the priority should have just been undertaking the caesarean section.

Irwin Mitchell has now secured an admission from Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Foundation Trust that there was “a missed opportunity to save the baby’s life”.

Fiona added: “It was incredibly difficult to let Noah go and I spent a couple of days in hospital with him after he was delivered, but there were other issues which made it very hard. For example, I was given a tablet to stop milk production and it didn’t work, so it just kept reminding me of what I had lost.

“I’ve also struggled with sleep and can’t stand being alone, while it is upsetting being out and seeing mothers with newborns or toddlers. I remain so angry that Noah did not get every chance to live and that the hospital should have done more. Lessons have to be learned.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in handling medical negligence cases.