Shropshire baby deaths: Hospital dismissed mum's fears

  • Published
Charlotte Jackson
Image caption,
Charlotte Jackson said she found out she was expecting Jacob on Mother’s Day 2018

An unborn baby died within two days of his mother being sent home from hospital after reporting reduced movement in the womb and a loss of fluid, her lawyers say.

Charlotte Jackson, 29, was told by Princess Royal Hospital in Telford she had "probably wet the bed".

The trust running the site is already the focus of a major probe into its maternity standards amid safety fears.

It said it had recognised "shortfalls in care" following the 2018 fatality.

An "undisclosed settlement" has been reached between the family and Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust (SaTH) where nearly 1,900 maternity cases are under investigation, including infant deaths.

Ms Jackson was 37 weeks pregnant when she underwent a pre-Caesarean assessment on 31 October three years ago, reporting fluid loss, reduced infant movement and stomach pains.

She was deemed a high-risk pregnancy because of diabetes, legal firm Irwin Mitchell said.

Two days later, after returning home, she phoned the hospital to say she had not felt the baby move since the day before.

After attending the site, Ms Jackson was told her baby had died. Her son Jacob was delivered stillborn the following day.

Lawyers said that in a letter to Ms Jackson, trust chief executive Louise Barnett stated: "I understand that Jacob could have been born healthy if we had arranged delivery earlier."

Image caption,
Partner James Harris and Charlotte Jackson have a keepsake box to remember Jacob

Ms Jackson said Jacob had always been a "very active baby", so when she noticed his movements were reduced she "had a gut feeling" something was not right.

She was "shocked", she said, when told "it was a one-off and I'd probably wet the bed".

She added: "Despite my fears it seemed like they wanted me out of hospital because it was busy."

'Absolutely horrific'

In July 2020, Ms Jackson gave birth to a son, who has a six-year-old brother and a five-year-old sister. But she said her previous experience had left her worried.

"Any time that he wasn't moving I instantly thought 'he's gone' - I was just so scared that the same thing was going to happen again.

"Giving birth to Jacob was absolutely horrific. It's almost impossible to put into words the emotion of it all, knowing your baby had already died."

Of SaTH she said: "I just want them to do their job properly and understand that mums have a say too, because every time I went in and I had something they were always 'no, you're wrong, I'm right'."

Ms Barnett said SaTH had "offered our sincere condolences" to the couple "and do so again today".

She added: "We have recognised the shortfalls in the care offered to them and have subsequently undertaken extensive investigations to carefully review the events that occurred to ensure that all the lessons from this tragic incident are fully learned."

SaTH's standards are being investigated under the Ockeden Review, a government-commissioned probe that began in 2018 following campaigns by two other bereaved families who blamed the trust for their loss.

The review - the largest ever into NHS maternity care - initially examined 250 cases, uncovering a disproportionately high death rate among the sample.

It has since been widened to focus on nearly 1,900 cases dating back decades.

Interim findings published in December 2020 highlighted numerous traumatic birth experiences including the deaths of babies due to excessive force of forceps and stillbirths that could have been avoided.

It also reported instances of mothers being blamed for infant deaths.

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