Sonographer Said Unborn Baby With Genetic Condition Was 'Lazy'

14/08/2014 16:50 | Updated 22 May 2015

Sonographer said unborn baby with genetic condition was 'lazy'

An insensitive hospital sonographer described an unborn baby as 'lazy' when in fact he was suffering from a rare genetic condition - and died just hours after he was born several weeks later.

Now grieving mum Lucy Copland, 27, is taking legal action against the hospital. She said she was told by a sonographer that her baby did not move during scans simply because he was 'lazy'.

But the mother-of-three refused to accept that theory and demanded further tests - which finally revealed her unborn son had a rare muscular and skeletal disorder that meant he could not move his arms or legs.

Mrs Copland told the Daily Mail: "It's disgusting. They kept saying my baby was just a 'lazy boy', when in fact he was seriously ill. The poor little mite wasn't lazy. He couldn't move because his limbs were fused solid.

"I kept telling them something was wrong because I hadn't felt any kicks at all, but they wouldn't listen. As far as they were concerned he was just lazy and I was made to feel like a paranoid mum.

"When we finally found out what was wrong with Alfie I felt devastated and let down that nobody had listened to me earlier.

"I want justice for Alfie. No mother should go through that."

Lucy was scanned 17 weeks into her pregnancy when she first raised concerns at Peterborough City Hospital last year.

She explained: "I'd suffered a previous loss at 17 weeks so the scan was to offer assurance.

"They said I had a perfect little baby boy but I noticed he didn't move at all during the scan and I thought it was odd."

At her 20-week scan she became distressed again when she noticed the baby wasn't moving.

"I kept asking why he wasn't moving," she recalled. "He was like a statue on the screen. Alarm bells were ringing and I started crying because I knew it wasn't right. I became very distressed.

"That's when the sonographer turned around and told me not to worry because he was just a 'lazy boy'. I was shocked. I knew that wasn't right."

Mrs Copland, from Crowland in Lincolnshire, returned two weeks later for another scan where she again raised concerns that her baby wasn't moving. She was once again assured he was just 'lazy' and told to relax.

"I couldn't relax. I knew from my other pregnancies it wasn't normal for him not to move at all and I begged someone to listen.

"I felt like I was going mad. I knew something was wrong with my baby. It is not normal to get to 24 weeks pregnant and not feel your baby move."

Finally she was called in for another scan at 26 weeks and an emergency referral was made when medics agreed it was unusual that the baby still wasn't moving.

She was sent to experts at Nottingham Hospital the following day and it was quickly confirmed her son was suffering with severe birth abnormalities.

Alfie was eventually diagnosed with fetal akinesia deformation sequence. The condition causes the bones to fuse together and reduces lung function amongst other serious abnormalities.

"I was utterly distraught and angry at the way I had been treated but my priority was my baby," said Mrs Copland.

She was advised to have a termination but refused. But tragically, just two weeks later, Mrs Copland's water's went at 28 weeks and she was rushed into theatre for an emergency Caesarean section on November 14th last year.

Alfie lived for five hours but passed away before his mother woke from the operation. Her son was buried next to the baby Lucy had lost at 17 weeks.

Mrs Coplnad now wants answers from the hospital.

Chris Wilkinson, director of care quality and chief nurse at Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Firstly, the Trust would like to offer our most sincere condolences to the Copland family at this sad time.

"It is not appropriate to comment specifically about Lucy Copland's experience, however the concerns of Mrs Copland were raised through the Trust's formal complaints system.

"We have completed a full investigation followed by a meeting with the family to present our findings.

"The Trust will continue to offer its guidance to the family should they need any further advice."

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