A HEARTBROKEN Netherton couple whose three-day-old daughter died after critical errors were made during her birth, have spoken of their devastation after discovering midwife delays were responsible for their baby’s death.
Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has admitted full liability over the death of baby Brook, who was born at Russells Hall Hospital to 26-year-old Gemma Peters and 30- year-old Liam Greenfield, after a healthy pregnancy.
The first-time mum was left in agony during a traumatic labour in July 2011, when Brook’s head became stuck for more than 90 minutes.
Lawyers for Irwin Mitchell also found Gemma’s midwives failed to correctly monitor the baby’s heart rate and failed to call a doctor for help when they could not find a heartbeat.
By the time Brook was delivered she was unresponsive, but was placed on Gemma’s chest. The new mum was then horrified to discover her baby wasn’t breathing as midwives had failed to notice the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck.
Brook was rushed off for resuscitation and was transferred to the hospital’s neonatal unit, where the couple were told she had suffered irreversible brain damage and they made the devastating decision to switch off her life support machine.
Gemma said: “I had a healthy pregnancy and for everything to go so badly wrong at the end has been very difficult to cope with.
“I went through a long, painful labour and was totally exhausted.
“I was so scared because I instinctively knew something wasn’t right.
“I am so angry about what happened. This was my first labour and, like most first-time mums, I put my complete trust in the midwives who I thought knew best.
“Their mistakes led to us being robbed of our beautiful baby girl and although the hospital has apologised, nothing can turn back the clock.
“If I could give advice to any other expectant mum, it would be to make sure the midwife regularly checks your baby’s heartbeat during labour and insist on a second opinion if necessary because things can go wrong at the last minute.
“I can only hope that the Trust has improved maternity services so that no other family has to go through the heartache that we have.”
Jenna Harris from Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office, which specialises in birth claims, said: “This is a tragic case and Gemma and Liam understandably remain completely devastated by the death of their first child.
“The trust has admitted the care Gemma received from their midwives fell well short of acceptable standards.
“Although the trust has now admitted liability they need to now reassure patients the problems identified have been acted upon and the midwives concerned have been retrained so no other parents suffer such unnecessary tragedy.”
Gemma and Liam have since welcomed their second daughter, eight-month-old Millie, who they chose to have at Birmingham Women’s Hospital, where they say they received “second-to-none care”.
Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust chief executive, Paula Clark, said: “First and foremost we would like to offer our most sincere condolences to Gemma Peters on the sad loss of her baby, Brook.
“ Safety is always our top priority and we offer our heartfelt apologies that the care provided in this case fell below the high standard we provide each day for our patients.
“A thorough investigation was carried out and lessons have been learned and appropriate actions taken to help ensure that a tragic incident such as this does not happen again in the future.”