Here are some of the incidents that happened at the hospitals;
Wynter Andrews died 23 minutes after he was delivered by Caesarean section on 15 September 2019 at Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC). The court was told that concerns over the conditions of the baby and mother were not acted on. The coroner added that Wynter’s death was a “clear and obvious” case of neglect.
In the case of Kouper Needham, who died of respiratory complications in July 2019 after being discharged. The coroner, Laurinda Bower ruled his discharge had been appropriate but did criticise the trust’s feeding policy at the time and noted the family were dissatisfied with Kouper’s care.
These families and others who were not happy with the services at Nottingham’s maternity units – came together to call for change at the Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) trust, which was set up in 2006 to take charge of the City Hospital and the QMC.
Among these families were Jack and Sarah Hawkins, who were awarded a £2.8m settlement in 2021 over the care of their daughter Harriet who was stillborn at the City Hospital in April 2016. This compensation figure is believed to be the largest payout for a stillbirth clinical negligence case.
Mr and Mrs Hawkins – who had themselves previously worked for the trust – said that in the days leading up to the stillbirth, they were repeatedly told by officials who attended to them that Mrs Hawkins was not in labour.
When Mrs Hawkins was eventually admitted to City Hospital and was preparing to give birth, a midwife tried to check Harriet’s heartbeat but failed to find it. Two senior midwives and finally the doctor after draining her bladder couldn’t find it. The doctor then announced to her that her baby was dead.
Sarah Hawkins said; “The doctor drained my bladder. Then he scanned and said ‘I’m sorry, your baby’s dead. I just went numb from head to toe. It felt like an out-of-body experience. I thought ‘This isn’t real. This is a nightmare’. I was a low-risk, healthy pregnancy. Everyone was telling me I wasn’t in labour. I was then left for nine hours trying to deliver her on my own because the consultant wasn’t aware that I hadn’t delivered her. I felt like I was dying. I was so exhausted.”
The couple have pushed for an independent, external investigation since the loss and said the trust has desperately tried for the truth not to come out.
“I was never believed in labour; I was never believed after labour. It was absolutely horrific for that to happen and we don’t believe that’s ever been acknowledged,” Mrs Hawkins said.
“It’s been completely swept under the carpet. Three years after Harriet died, Wynter Andrews died and the coroner found neglect. It was basically nearly a copy-and-paste of my labour. We have met so many families with dead babies and harmed mothers. It’s evidenced by harmed people. I don’t know how people can’t – to this day – understand that or address it.”
An investigation by Channel 4 News and the Independent conducted In 2021, reported that 46 babies suffered brain damage and 19 were stillborn in Nottingham between 2010 and 2020. According to the report, more than £91m in damages and costs were paid out.
Between 2005 and 2022, more than 160,000 babies were born at the maternity units and in that time, there were 207 claims resulting in pay-outs with most of the claims arising from failure or delay in commencing treatment and a failure to respond to abnormal foetal heart rate.
What Are Families Calling For?
Families have raised their voices over the years calling for an independent review into the trust’s maternity units. The review had been set up by the local clinical commissioning group (CCG), NHS England and NHS Improvement but the families criticised the committee questioning its independence and the experience of the team behind it.
In April, families wrote to the government expressing their concerns and called for Donna Ockenden, who led the inquiry into the UK’s biggest maternity scandal at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust, to take charge.
Ms Ockenden investigated almost 1,600 incidents at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust and in May, it was announced Ms Ockenden would lead a new review.
She has said she was “absolutely honoured” to be chosen for the role.
Her review which has now started is set to last about 18 months – depending on the number of families who come forward.
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