PARENTS

Parents Donate Organs Of Baby Born Brain Dead Because Of Hospital Blunders

14/08/2014 16:47 | Updated 22 May 2015
Parents donate organs of baby born brain dead because of hospital blunders

The parents of a baby girl delivered brain dead after a series of 'critical failures' by hospital midwives have asked health bosses to ensure lessons are learned.

The parents of Imogen Skelcher launched legal action against the George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, after their daughter suffered irreversible brain damage in the womb.

An independent report found staff at the hospital had not followed guidelines, and failed to spot Imogen's heart rate was dangerously low.

Her mother Samantha Hewings suffered a ruptured uterus during the birth in March 2011, and Imogen was eventually delivered by Caesarean section.

Two days after the birth, Imogen's parents Samantha, 27, and David Skelcher, from Atherstone in Warwickshire, decided to switch off their daughter's life support and she died in their arms.

They later decided to donate their daughter's organs so others might avoid the trauma of losing a child. Samantha has now been told one of her daughter's heart valves was transplanted into the body of an 11-day-old boy last March, a day before what would have been her first birthday.

The mum, who is also parent to four-year-old Jack and eight-month-old Alfie, said: "It's lovely to hear that it had been used, especially so close to her birth date. It did feel like a little sign from above that we had done the right thing.

"It's incredible she has saved another baby's life. "We won't ever fully move on, but it's something to hold on to that some good has come out of this and part of her is still living in someone else.

"Nothing can turn back the clock, but we just hope that the hospital trust has learned lessons so the same tragedy won't happen again.''

The legal firm Irwin Mitchell, which is acting for the parents, says the hospital trust has now settled the matter with an undisclosed payment, running to five figures, to pay for grief counselling.

The trust offered its 'profound apologies for the failings in care provided' to the couple, saying lessons had been learned.

Among the report's findings; staff had failed to identify the pregnancy as high risk despite Samantha's first baby Jack being delivered by Caesarean.

It concluded staff had also failed to recognise and act on Samantha's deteriorating condition, and failed to communicate the urgency of the situation, stating there had been a lack of communication throughout the labour and approved guidelines had not been followed.

The report recommended educating labour ward staff on heart monitoring, improving communication between midwives and doctors, more thorough note-taking and a tightening of guidelines for natural births following a C-section.

Sara Burns, partner at Irwin Mitchell, said: "An independent report highlighted a series of critical errors made by midwives and included recommendations to ensure the same mistakes cannot be made again."

A spokesman for the hospital said: "Several lessons have been learned as a result of this case and changes implemented to improve processes as a result."
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