21/08/2012 16:32 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Parents Tell Of Their Anguish After Hospital Blunders Lead To Their Baby Dying In The Womb Two Days Before Her Due Date

Parents tell of anguish after hospital blunders led to their longed-for daughter dying in the womb two days before her due date Sacha cuddles baby Anais. Pic: SWNS

Sacha Parsons' daughter Anais was stillborn after midwives failed to spot she was critically ill.

Sacha, 39, from Somerset, should have been closely monitored after her unborn baby was found to be under-developed in the womb.

Medical staff at Paulton Memorial Hospital in Somerset repeatedly told Sacha, a school finance officer, and her partner, Andy Cassidy, 40, that there was nothing to worry about, but Anais was so weak, she died her mum's womb two days before her due date.

As Anais had not been growing properly, midwives should have been monitoring her progress carefully. Hospital bosses have now admitted responsibility for Anais' death and have implemented changes in procedure. They have also agreed to pay the couple compensation.

"I despise them. Their lack of care took our wonderful baby away from us forever," says Sacha. "They measured her as small and told me not to worry about it, played God with my baby's life and our little girl paid the ultimate price - her life. They may have taken away our one and only chance of having a baby."

The couple had been trying for a baby for three years, but Sacha suffered a miscarriage in 2010. They were cautious when she fell pregnant again in September 2010, and following scans at 36 and 38 weeks, three midwives told Sacha her baby was small, but not to be concerned.

Sacha later discovered that by the 40th week, her unborn baby was five weeks behind on its development, and it was only during her final check-up that a midwife raised concerns about the size of the baby and immediately referred her for a scan.

The following day, Sacha felt some unusual movement and had a wave of nausea.

"I remember feeling some very small movements in bed in the morning, which was unusual," says Sacha. "At lunch time, for about 30 seconds I felt quite sick and had stomach ache. I just put this down to being due any minute. I now know this was her way of telling me the exact time she had gone."

Parents tell of anguish after hospital blunders led to their longed-for daughter dying in the womb two days before her due date

Sacha went to Paulton Memorial Hospital in Radstock for a check-up, and midwives referred her to the Royal United Hospital in Bath for a heartbeat scan - which confirmed the couple's worst fears.

"I didn't look at the screen. Our lives changed forever from that second onwards," says Sacha.


I could see my large bump in the mirror and knew we wouldn't be taking our baby home. I then started crying and screaming and Andy came to comfort me


Sacha was induced at Paulton Memorial Hospital the next day, she gave birth to her baby girl, weighing 5lbs, 7oz. The couple were given three hours with Anais before her body was taken away:

"Andy and I hoped for a girl all along and we got our wish. She was absolutely beautiful and completely normal in every way. Anais knew more love in her short stay with us than some children know in their life time. We just gazed at her all evening and wondered how we could have made something so beautiful and perfect."

In March 2012, Wiltshire Primary Care Trust - which ran Paulton Memorial Hospital at the time - admitted a breach of duty and that the midwives had been in the wrong.

A statement released by the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which now runs the hospital, said: "When we took responsibility for the management of the service we were quick to ensure that the issues raised through the initial investigation were addressed, making improvements to training in measuring, documentation and plotting of Symphysis Fundal Height (SFH).


Our supervisors of midwives have been involved in implementing these changes. Their role is to give guidance and support to midwives and expectant mothers to ensure that the right care is provided, and they also ensure that midwives maintain their fitness to practice.


"We have shared the findings from the investigation with all of our maternity staff so that all staff are aware of the issues and are able to learn important lessons raised by this case.'

Sacha - who suffered another miscarriage in May this year - has reported the midwives concerned to the National Midwifery Council, and is now campaigning to help prevent such tragedies happening to others, calling for growth charts to be given a prominent position in maternity books.