NHS trust faces legal action after internal investigation recognises mistakes that left newborn baby with brain damage

A newborn baby was left brain damaged after his mother suffered two cardiac arrests in labour following a series of alleged blunders by hospital staff while she was giving birth.

The mother was left in a coma after the delivery at Queen’s Hospital in Romford.

An internal investigation found the events could likely have been prevented and the parents are now taking legal action against Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.

The mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “My pregnancy was perfect, but when I went into hospital everything went wrong.

“I was in a lot of pain… When my son was born, he was not breathing. They tried to resuscitate him. He eventually started to breathe again after five minutes and his colour returned.”

She was in a coma for several weeks following the birth in February last year and was unable to walk or talk when she woke up. She lost five litres of blood in the first 10 minutes of labour and had to undergo an emergency hysterectomy, and says she is still unable to leave home by herself.

“When I was told that my son was very ill, I was totally devastated. I cannot believe that the midwife failed to monitor his heart rate properly as if they had, my son may not be in the condition he is in today. He cannot hold his head up and is not reacting normally,” she said.

The mother was considered a low risk pregnancy, having had two other children with no complications, according to a serious incident report completed by the trust.

The report found that hospital staff did not take the mother’s blood clotting problems seriously enough because “terminology” from the blood testing lab “was confusing”.

An investigation also found that the newly qualified midwife had not noticed there was a problem with the baby’s heart rate and they were accidentally monitoring the mother’s heart rate instead of her son’s.

“Earlier escalation of an abnormal foetal heart rate in the second stage of labour may have resulted in earlier delivery which may have improved the outcome for the baby,” the report states.

Osbornes Law’s Jodi Newton, for the family, said: “What matters now is that meaningful action is taken by the trust to learn from their mistakes.”

Kathryn Halford, Queen’s Hospital chief nurse, said: “We would like to offer our sincere apologies to the family for not meeting our own high standards of care in this case.”

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter