George Eliot Hospital staff 'failed' in baby delivery

Imogen Skelcher Imogen Skelcher's life-support machine was turned off two days after she was born

The parents of a baby delivered brain dead after "errors" were made by staff at a Warwickshire hospital hope the NHS trust responsible has learned lessons.

Imogen Skelcher suffered irreversible brain damage in the womb prior to her birth at George Eliot Hospital, Nuneaton, in March 2011.

An independent report found staff had not followed guidelines and failed to spot the baby's low heart rate.

George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust has apologised and "learned lessons".

Imogen died two days after she was born, when her life-support machine was switched off.

The report said staff had not identified the pregnancy as high risk even though Imogen's mother, Samantha Hewings, had her first baby by Caesarean section.

Pain 'far worse'

It noted there had been a lack of communication among staff during Mrs Hewings' labour with Imogen and recommended ward staff are educated on heart monitoring.

The report also concluded that, along with note-taking, communication between midwives and doctors needed improving and guidelines for natural births following Caesareans needed tightening.

Speaking about the birth, Ms Hewings, from Atherstone, said: "After I was induced and went into labour the pain was far worse than anything I had experienced.

"I knew something wasn't right."

The 27-year-old, who suffered a ruptured uterus during the labour, said she and her partner David Skelcher became aware of the foetal heart monitor and could "hear the beeps slowing down and getting lower".

David Skelcher and Imogen Hewings Imogen Hewings' first baby was delivered by Caesarean section

"We watched for a couple of contractions while this happened and I said to Dave, 'We need to get somebody in now because she isn't happy in there'," she explained.

"By the time she was born she hadn't got a heart rate and it took nine minutes to actually get her back because I could hear them resuscitating her in the same room as I was in."

'Heart valves donated'

Ms Hewings said a consultant told them their daughter was "in a grave condition".

"It came to me in that moment then to ask them whether we could donate Imogen's organs and I think they were a bit taken aback," she said.

"They harvested two of her heart valves and one of them I've later found out has been successfully transplanted.

"We just hope from at least saying our story and getting it out to people that this won't happen to another family and that the hospital will learn from the errors that were made.

"We want to get across that we didn't realise how dangerous it was having a natural delivery after having a Caesarean birth for my first child."

The couple have settled the matter financially with George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust.

A spokesman for the trust said: "George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust wishes to express its sincere condolences to the family and offers its profound apologies for the failings in the care provided.

"Several lessons have been learned as a result of this case and changes implemented to improve processes as a result.

"A legal claim has been presented by the family and a settlement has been agreed between the parties. It would be inappropriate for the Trust to comment further."

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