MY BABY'S TRAGIC DEATH- SUNDAY MIRROR NEWSPAPER EXCLUSIVE- JANUARY 2009


Clare Russell contacted us to sell the story about how her baby had died because the hospital did not have enough resources to help her at night time.


She had contacted newspapers and magazines herself before but not found anyone to publish her story.


We used our contacts to ensure that Clare's heartbreaking story was told.


Clare was keen to highlight this disturbing issue.


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Baby died because hospital had no one on night duty to do C-section

Sunday Mirror newspaper

 

A baby boy died minutes after birth because the hospital had no anaesthetist on duty for an emergency caesarian.

Clare Russell, who went into labour with son Dylan 10 weeks early, arrived at the maternity unit in the middle of the night.

She desperately needed a C-section to save her son, who was coming out feet first in the breech position.

But the hospital had a cost-cutting policy of not having an anaesthetist during the night. Clare had to give birth naturally, and Dylan died when the umbilical cord got wrapped around him, starving him of blood and oxygen.

Research has shown a C-section in those circumstances would almost certainly have saved Dylan.

A few weeks after the tragedy, Clare  who is speaking out in the hope of preventing other mums-to-be facing the same heartbreak met Royal Shrewsbury Hospital bosses.

Dr Adam Gornhill, the consultant who delivered Dylan, confirmed that Dylan could have lived if she had gone into labour 12 hours earlier when an anaesthetist would have been on duty.

He told her: "There was nobody to do the C-section because there was no anaesthetist. If it had been 12.25 in the daytime there would have been a team on. We have to work within our limitations. It's a resource policy decision."

The revelations provide a snapshot of the crisis on maternity wards across the NHS and will heap more pressure on the Government to improve standards.

Dylan's tragically short life ended six years ago. Last month the hospital finally agreed compensation, an undisclosed five-figure sum.

Clare, 38, of Madeley, Telford, said: "How can it be right that because I gave birth at night my son had less chance of survival?

"I don't blame the doctors because they did all they could. But who is making these decisions and saying things should be this way in the NHS? If you need a C-section you should be able to have one night or day.

"No amount of compensation could make up for the death of my baby. But something can be done to make sure other babies don't die needlessly like Dylan did."

Clare, who has a son, Cade, 14, said: "They were so understaffed. The midwife gave us a heart monitor and told us to see if we could get a reading. I had no gas and air and my back was killing me."

After almost an hour, a senior doctor arrived but waited 20 minutes before  phoning the on-call consultant Dr Gornhill at home.

He ordered a clip to be placed on Dylan to check his heart rate. It showed the baby was distressed and by the time Dr Gornhill got to hospital at 1.10am Clare had almost given birth. Dylan died minutes after being born on November 29, 2003.

The hospital has admitted medical records of Dylan's condition had been lost and notes from the day Clare's waters broke were wrong.

Dr Gornhill also admitted Clare should not have been sent home and the hospital admitted taking too long to alert the consultant about Clare's condition.

During her six-year battle for justice Clare quit her job as a lab assistant to start working as a healthcare assistant at hospitals across Telford. She is determined to help improve NHS standards.

She said: "The doctors did their best to save Dylan but the reality is mistakes were made beforehand which could have prevented his death.

"Doctors and midwives are crippled by a lack of resources. If it doesn't end, more children like my son will die."

Last night health experts said it is regarded as good practice for maternity units to have an anaesthetist available 24 hours a day to perform caesarean sections. But Belinda Phipps, of the National Childbirth Trust, said many don't have them round the clock because hospitals are so over-stretched.

She said: "It is a travesty but the untold story of maternity care in this country is that it is more dangerous for women to give birth at night."

Trish Rowson, of the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said they now have anaesthetic cover 24 hours a day at the hospital.

She added: "The Trust extends its deepest sympathies to Mr and Mrs Russell."