Isle of Wight hospital admits delay caused stillbirth of baby

A GRIEVING couple are calling for lessons to be learned after the Isle of Wight NHS Trust admitted a delay in inducing the birth of their son caused his death.

The trust said it has implemented changes since the tragedy.

Helen Brotherton, of Newport, visited St Mary’s Hospital twice, in June 2020, complaining of reduced movement of her baby in the womb.

On her second visit, Helen, who was full term, was induced.

The baby, Troy, was delivered stillborn, leaving Helen and husband Ed devastated.

Helen, 32, and Ed, 36, instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her care.

The couple are speaking out for the first time about the ordeal of losing their first child, during Baby Loss Awareness Week.

It comes after the trust admitted a breach of duty. It admitted that doctors should have offered an induction of labour to Helen on June 5, when she first presented at the hospital three days before the birth.

If the trust had, on the balance of probabilities, Troy would not have been stillborn, it added.

Today, a spokesperson for the Isle of Wight NHS Trust said: “We are truly sorry for the failings that led to Troy’s death.

“Nothing we can say can take away the pain felt by his family, but we have worked closely with them to ensure that lessons have been learned from this tragedy.

“We can confirm that we have made changes and have now implemented the latest national Saving Babies’ Lives Care Bundle and have changed our practices accordingly.”

On June 3, at 38 weeks, Helen attended a routine community midwife appointment. She raised concerns Troy’s movements had been reduced, but was not told to attend the hospital’s assessment unit straightaway.

Two days later Helen called the hospital’s maternity ward concerned about further reduced movement. Following a scan of Troy’s hart rate, Helen was allowed home.

However, her legal team said staff should not have been reassured by the scan and her care should have been escalated to more senior doctors for review and potential induction of labour.

On June 7, when Helen returned to hospital, the baby’s heart rate could not be found. Helen was induced and Troy was delivered stillborn the following day.

The trust also admitted Helen was not appropriately risk assessed during her appointment on June 3 and she should have been advised to attend hospital straightaway.

Helen, a baby room manager, said: “We were overjoyed by the prospect of being parents. It was something we had always wanted, and because of personal health issues, felt incredibly lucky to be expecting Troy.

“I was really worried that Troy’s movements had started to reduce. However, at no stage did it feel like staff seemed concerned.

“I tried not to fear the worst and stay positive but it was heartbreaking when we were told that we had lost Troy.

“Ed and I got to spend some time with him in hospital but it wasn’t enough. Having to leave Troy knowing we wouldn’t be able to bring him home to start our new lives together is something I don’t think we’ll ever get over.”

Ed, a principal operations manager, added: “Knowing things would probably have been different if Helen and Troy had received the care they deserved is the hardest thing to accept.

“It’s difficult not to feel upset and angry by what happened and not think of how Troy would be growing and developing if he hadn’t have been let down.”

He said he wanted to share what happened, to make other parents aware and urge hospitals to review their procedures and improve care where needed.

He urged those going through the same emotions to know it’s not their fault and they don’t have to suffer alone — “Baby Loss Awareness Week is an important reminder that there is help and support available.”

Irwin Mitchell is campaigning to improve maternity services across the country.

Justine Spencer, partner, who heads the Southampton medical negligence team representing Helen and Ed, said: “Helen and Ed are understandably traumatised by Troy’s death. Their story is a stark reminder of the devastation families can be left to face as a result of avoidable failings in maternity care.

“While nothing can make up for their loss, we’re pleased we’ve been able to provide the family with the answers they deserve.

“We thank the trust for its swift admissions which has spared Helen and Ed the ordeal of having to prolong their case.

“We’re now working with the trust to fully resolve the issues identified in the case.

“It’s vital that lessons are learned to improve patient care for others. We’ll continue to campaign to improve maternity safety.”

Isle of Wight County Press | News