Leicester maternity staff errors led to baby's death

Delilah Hubbard Image copyright Family issue
Image caption Delilah Hubbard died on 9 March in the neonatal unit at Leicester Royal Infirmary

A baby girl who died at just two days old would have survived if her mother had been given a caesarean section sooner, a hospital trust has admitted.

Delilah Hubbard died on 9 March in the neonatal unit at Leicester Royal Infirmary.

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust has admitted making a series of mistakes that led to her death.

Delilah's mother, Clara Bassford, said it was "heartbreaking" to discover the death was preventable.

Ms Bassford, 25, of Coalville, Leicestershire, had been classed as having a high-risk pregnancy because her two previous children were born prematurely.

She also suffers from ulcerative colitis, which can lead to complications during pregnancy.

On 6 March, she had visited Leicester General Hospital for routine monitoring, but whilst there her waters broke and she was admitted to the ward and kept in overnight for monitoring.

The next morning she noticed she had a small bleed and that Delilah was not moving.

Ms Bassford informed the midwives but she had to wait some time before they examined her.

Delilah's heart rate was not properly recorded for a further hour and 40 minutes, because a heart monitor was not positioned correctly.

Image copyright Family issue
Image caption An inquest into Delilah's death is due to take place in April

Once the monitor was adjusted, it became apparent Delilah's heart rate was unusually high with periods when it dropped very low, meaning she was in distress.

It was then a number of hours before Delilah was delivered. She was then transferred to Leicester Royal Infirmary, but died two days later.

Joan Morrissey, midwifery matron at University of Leicester NHS Trust, said: "In light of the mistakes that were made in the way Delilah's birth was managed we know that an apology can never undo what happened.

"Nevertheless, we are deeply sorry for the mistakes that were made."

The trust also admitted Delilah would have survived if Ms Bassford had been given a caesarean section sooner.

However, the trust said it was likely that she would have suffered significant permanent disabilities.

Ms Bassford said: "I am still trying to come to terms with losing my little girl and to now find out that there were a number of failings by the staff caring for me and Delilah and that this could have been prevented is heartbreaking.

"I feel that there were several points when action should have been taken to ensure the safety of both Delilah and me. They did not seem to be concerned by the dips in Delilah's heartbeat and there did not seem to be any urgency in taking me down for a caesarean section."

  • Ulcerative colitis is a long-term condition, where the colon and rectum become inflamed
  • Small ulcers can develop on the colon's lining
  • The main symptoms of ulcerative colitis are recurring diarrhoea, which may contain blood, mucus or pus, and abdominal pain
  • The majority of women with ulcerative colitis who decide to have children will have a normal pregnancy and a healthy baby
  • However, if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy you should discuss it with your care team
  • If you become pregnant during a flare-up, or have a flare-up while pregnant, there is a risk you could give birth early

Source NHS Choices

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