Heartbroken parents to sue Blackpool Vic for alleged negligence after death of premature ‘Baby J’

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The parents of a baby boy who died shortly after being born at 22 weeks have moved to sue Blackpool Victoria Hospital for negligence after doctors mistook the mother’s labour pains for a water infection and sent her home.

 

Baby J's parents allege that Blackpool Vic doctors were negligent when they sent his mum home with a UTI diagnosis when she was in fact in labour

Baby J’s parents allege that Blackpool Vic doctors were negligent when they sent his mum home with a UTI diagnosis when she was in fact in labour

Baby J was born at home at 5.55pm on September 8 2017 – less than three hours after Blackpool Vic doctors discharged his mum without performing a speculum examination, which may have revealed that she was in labour. The infant died a short time later.

A further miscommunication between ambulance and hospital staff lead to his death being marked as a miscarriage, though an inquest this week heard that Baby J was in fact alive when he was born.

The coroner handed down a conclusion of death by natural causes, with the cause being extreme prematurity.

Baby J’s mum said: “For the past four years we have had to battle for our son’s birth, and short life, to be recognised. We heard him gurgling after he was born and his father and paramedics tried their best to help his breathing until he arrived at hospital.

“To have no recognition of your baby’s life due to a communication mix up is heart-breaking. Nothing we could do could bring him back, but we simply couldn’t allow him to have no place officially in history.”

His father said: “This situation has been very difficult me and for the family. Our baby boy will always be in our hearts, but knowing that justice has now been done, has finally meant our baby boy can be remembered for the right reasons.”

The pair have now agreed to pursue a civil case against Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust alleging negligence in the treatment provided when discharging the mother home when in labour.

Solicitor Emma Stone said: “This was a very traumatic experience for our client and her family, and of course something which will impact on their lives forever.

“The loss of a baby is always a very difficult time, whatever the circumstances of that loss. However, for our client to be sent home from hospital, give birth at home and see her baby boy struggling for life was heart-breaking. This was then further compounded by being told her baby was not being recognised as having lived, meaning there was no post-mortem, and no registration of his birth or death.

“It was for that reason that the family pursued an Inquest and they are grateful to the Coroner for recording that their baby boy had shown signs of life after birth, and that he died of natural causes due to the prematurity of his birth.”

Peter Murphy, Director of Nursing, AHPs and Quality at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said ‘everyone at the Trust was thinking of baby J, his family and his mum in particular who had been through a devastating experience’.

He added: “I want to offer our deepest condolences to them and for them to know that baby J is in our thoughts. This was a traumatic experience and there is help available as and when they need it. The Trust supported the inquest fully and notes the findings of the coroner. The lessons we are able to learn and share from this death will be a priority for us to understand and a basis upon which to improve.”

A North West Ambulance Service spokesman said: “Our deepest sympathies remain with the family of Baby J in what remains an incredibly difficult time for them.

“The Trust acknowledge and take seriously the concerns raised and extend our apologies to Baby J’s family for any distress or suffering that may have resulted. As an organisation we will review our systems and liaise with the coroner and family upon the outcome of that review and any improvements we have been able to make”.