Trust settles brain dead baby case

Romsey Advertiser: Imogen Skelcher was delivered brain dead due to a series of 'critical failures' by midwives Imogen Skelcher was delivered brain dead due to a series of 'critical failures' by midwives

The parents of a baby girl delivered brain dead after a series of "critical failures" by hospital midwives have asked health bosses to ensure lessons are learned.

The parents of Imogen Skelcher launched legal action against the George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, after their daughter suffered irreversible brain damage in the womb.

An independent report found staff at the hospital had not followed guidelines, and failed to spot Imogen's heart rate was dangerously low.

Her mother Samantha Hewings suffered a ruptured uterus during the birth in March 2011, and Imogen was eventually delivered by Caesarean section.

Two days after the birth, Imogen's parents Miss Hewings, 27, and David Skelcher, from Atherstone in Warwickshire, decided to switch off their daughter's life support and she died in their arms. They already had a young son Jack born in 2009, and have since had another baby boy named Alfie.

The legal firm Irwin Mitchell, which is acting for the parents, says the hospital trust has now settled the matter with an undisclosed payment, running to five figures, to pay for grief counselling.

The trust offered its "profound apologies for the failings in care provided" to the couple, saying lessons had been learned.

Among the report's findings; staff had failed to identify the pregnancy as high risk despite Miss Hewings's first baby Jack being delivered by Caesarean.

It concluded staff had also failed to recognise and act on Miss Hewings's deteriorating condition, and failed to communicate the urgency of the situation, stating there had been a lack of communication throughout the labour and approved guidelines had not been followed.

The report recommended educating labour ward staff on heart monitoring, improving communication between midwives and doctors, more thorough note-taking and a tightening of guidelines for natural births following a C-section.

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