Baby loses her life only 12 days after her birth, following starvation of oxygen caused by her own umbilical cord being wrapped around her neck, which inexperienced midwives failed to notice.

  • August 8, 2017
  • An inquest has heard how complications that occurred during the labour of baby Thea tragically led to severe brain damage, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, resulting in her death 12 days later.  The death of Thea described by her mother as a “living hell”, has been attributed to failure by the two-midwives overseeing her to notice the umbilical cord that had been choking Thea on delivery causing her to be starved of oxygen for 30 minutes. It has been stated that if normal procedure had been followed upon noticing the issue it would have been escalated to an obstetrician more equipped to aid Thea.

    Karen Higham-Deakin, the mother of Thea, expressed that the intention behind the inquest was not to “attribute blame” to the two nurses in question, one of whom had only six month experience whilst her colleague had only worked one shift at the same hospital. Rather, she only wished to “make sure practices were looked at” in an effort to minimise future damage to life. However, Karen does feel as though the “trust” placed in the hospital and its staff to ensure the safety of her child had been misplaced. A consultant at Addenbrooke’s hospital, Patrick Forbes, similarly was not personally critical of the midwives decision to not escalate care to an obstetrician.

    Others have been more critical of the fatal mistake, with Coroner John Pollard describing the treatment throughout the situation as “sub-optimal”, with warning signs of the cord being around Thea’s throat noticeable 25 minutes before her birth. He later acknowledged that in spite of the evident bad standards, there was no neglect, as the law requires proof that her life would have been saved.

    Inez Brown is a Solicitor in the Medical Accident Group's Clinical Negligence Department. Call her free today on a no win, no fee basis 0800 050 1668

    Inez Brown, Partner

    Inez Brown, Partner at Medical Accident group said: “This is a clear example of why the systems in place need to be strictly adhered too, not only to prevent tragic cases such as Thea’s reoccurring- but to save inexperienced staff members from being placed in situations they are ill-equipped to handle.”

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