Hospital admits causing stillbirth of baby boy after midwives stopped monitoring heart rate

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Hospital admits causing stillbirth of baby boy after midwives stopped monitoring heart rate - South London News

A woman whose baby was stillborn due to mistakes midwives made during labour said she was “appalled” by the lack of compassion shown.

Charlotte Warner, of Streatham, was 23 when she lost her baby boy, CJ, after midwives at St George’s Hospital failed to notice he was being starved of oxygen during labour. They had stopped taking regular heart readings despite having induced labour.

Mrs Warner, now 29, said: “The pain of losing a baby like we did never goes away.”

A Serious Incident Investigation into the care provided by the Tooting hospital, in May 2018, found guidelines had not been followed.

As part of a legal case – led by medical specialists Hudgell Solicitors – St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust admitted that steps could have been taken to ensure CJ was born alive and well.

Mrs Warner said: “I’d expressed how much pain I was in several times, but I’d been reassured that all was as it should be.

“Then, all of a sudden, a midwife said that she couldn’t find a heartbeat.

“Not long after he had been stillborn, one of the doctors made a comment to me along the lines that I’d still be able to have more babies as I was only 23.

“It was almost dismissing the devastating impact of losing CJ.

“We were left feeling completely let down by the staff, and that was before we knew that it had been their mistakes which cost him his life.”

Mrs Warner said she suffered from depression after losing the baby and was suicidal at times, often feeling guilty in her moments of happiness.

The Trust offered a full apology to Mrs Warner and agreed an-out-of-court-damages settlement.

A recent All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) inquiry into traumatic childbirths has called for an overhaul of the UK’s maternity and postnatal care after finding poor care is “all-too-frequently tolerated as normal”.

The Birth Trauma Inquiry heard harrowing evidence from more than 1,300 women and found “shockingly poor quality” services. Some women said they were left in blood-soaked sheets while others said their children had suffered life-changing injuries due to medical negligence.

The APPG has called on the Government to publish a National Maternity Improvement Strategy, led by a new Maternity Commissioner who will report to the Prime Minister.

Theresa Greenwood, a registered midwife and clinical support executive at Hudgell Solicitors, said: “Maternity units up and down the country are operating with less staff than they should have.

“It has been identified by numerous inquiries over at least the last ten years that low staffing levels are key to improving maternity services.”

Now a mother to three young children, Mrs Warner said each pregnancy and birth has brought complicated, mixed emotions that she and her partner Charlie have struggled to cope with.

Ms Greenwood added: “Trauma experiences do have consequences, there’s a knock-on effect.

“It may mean women decide not to have another child, it may affect their wellbeing and also affect their relationships with a partner or other children.”

A St George’s Hospital spokesperson said: “We are sorry the care Ms Warner received fell short of the high standards we expect, and we would like to apologise sincerely and unreservedly to Ms Warner and her family. We offer our deepest sympathies to them all.

“We continually strive to improve the quality of the services we provide, and a comprehensive internal investigation identified areas of improvement within our midwifery services. We have now implemented these improvements including linking heart readings to a central monitoring system and carrying out individualised assessments.”

Pictured top: Charlotte Warner with her partner Charlie and child CJ (Picture: Charlotte Warner)