Queen’s Hospital apologises after newborn suffers brain damage

Queen's Hospital, Romford. Picture: Ken Mears

His mother suffered two cardiac arrests during labour at Queen’s Hospital. - Credit: Ken Mears

A newborn baby was left with brain damage after a series of alleged blunders by Queen’s Hospital staff while his mother was giving birth.

His mother suffered two cardiac arrests during labour and went into a coma after the delivery at the Romford hospital.

She lost five litres of blood in the first 10 minutes of the birth and had to undergo an emergency hysterectomy.

An internal investigation found the events could likely have been prevented, and the parents are now taking legal action against Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.

The mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “My pregnancy was perfect, but when I went into hospital everything went wrong.

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"I was in a lot of pain. When my son was born, he was not breathing. They tried to resuscitate him. He eventually started to breathe again after five minutes and his colour returned.”

She was in a coma for several weeks following the birth in February last year, becoming unable to walk or talk when she woke up -  she says she is still unable to leave home by herself.

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The mother was considered a low-risk pregnancy, having had two other children with no complications, according to a serious incident report completed by the trust.

The report found that hospital staff did not take the mother’s blood clotting problems seriously enough because “terminology” from the blood-testing lab was "confusing”.

An investigation also found that the newly qualified midwife had not noticed there was a problem with the baby’s heart rate and were accidentally monitoring the mother’s heart rate instead of her son’s.

"When I was told that my son was very ill, I was totally devastated. I cannot believe that the midwife failed to monitor his heart rate properly as if they had, my son may not be in the condition he is in today," she said.

The report states: "Earlier escalation of an abnormal foetal heart rate in the second stage of labour may have resulted in earlier delivery which may have improved the outcome for the baby."

Osbornes Law’s Jodi Newton, who represented the family, said: “What matters now is that meaningful action is taken by the trust to learn from their mistakes.”

Kathryn Halford, Queen’s Hospital chief nurse, said: “We would like to offer our sincere apologies to the family for not meeting our own high standards of care in this case.

"We are carrying out a thorough investigation and are in close contact with the family.

"We will be sharing the conclusion with them in due course, including any changes which are made following learning from this case.”

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