Four more families come forward over baby deaths at East Kent hospitals

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Following on from our previous article that reported at least seven preventable baby deaths had occurred at East Kent hospitals, this number has now risen as more families have come forward.

The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch – the NHS group that investigates patient safety concerns – is currently looking into 25 maternity care cases from hospitals in Margate and Ashford.

A further four families have now come forward, saying that their babies would still be alive had East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust provided better care.

Reid Andrew Shaw

Kirsty Stead called midwives the day before her due date after her son was moving excessively and she was in severe pain. She was told to take paracetamol and go to sleep. The following day she called the hospital to tell them that her son had now stopped moving. She was admitted into hospital but by 7pm Reid had died.

The hospital suggested that whoever took Kirsty’s call had failed at her medical notes. An investigation has begun to see if Reid would have survived had Kirsty been told to come into hospital the night she called.

Freddie White

At 35 weeks pregnant, Nicola Grimmett was told that her twins had a serious condition whereby they were not receiving equal amounts of the blood supply. There was a three day delay before she had a Caesarean section, and as a result one of the twins, Freddie, did not survive.

The trust has apologised, admitting that Freddie may not have died had the twins been delivered earlier.

Harriet Gittos

Helen Gittos decided to have a home birth nearby to the QEQM Hospital in case of an emergency. After a slow labour, Helen went to hospital and waited for nearly an hour to see a consultant, despite being classed as a high-risk patient.

Helen’s daughter’s heart rate was significantly slowing, and so an emergency Caesarean was performed. Baby Harriet was born in a poor condition and died just eight days later.

The trust admitted that Helen should have received better care.

Fletcher Aiken

Katy King says that hospital staff did not believe that she was in labour at 28 weeks pregnant.

Her son, Fletcher, was breathing on his own after two days, however at nine days old he became severely ill. He was having daily seizures and medics thought he had an unidentified genetic condition.

Katy says staff failed to notice that her son had developed a fungal condition, and that if he had received the correct antibiotics he would have survived. Fletcher died at 13 days old.

The trust deny any wrongdoing in this situation, stating that there “was no evidence of any omissions in care.”

Amanda Cavanagh, a medical negligence specialist in the medical negligence team at Ashtons Legal, comments: “It is beyond belief that so many baby deaths have occurred and that more are continuing to come to light. The tragedy in all of this is that in the majority of these cases the deaths should have and could have been avoided.  It is not enough to be sorry, urgent action needs to be taken to avoid these unnecessary deaths and to prevent more families from facing such unimaginable pain.”


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