27/11/2013 07:57 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Mothers At Antenatal Scans Wrongly Told Their Unborn Babies Were Dead

Two pregnant women were mistakenly told that their unborn babies were dead when the same hospital missed healthy heartbeats in routine scans.

Joanna Barro, 25, was advised to have a termination when doctors said they were '100 per cent sure' her baby was dead at eight weeks. She was preparing to go through a miscarriage procedure a week later when a shocked nurse found a heartbeat and told her the pregnancy was fine.

Joanna went on to give birth to a healthy baby girl, Ruby.

And earlier this week, Sofia Taylor, 22, nine weeks pregnant, was also told she had lost her child and advised to have a termination.
Sofia told the Daily Mail she had refused to accept that her baby was dead and demanded a second scan. This one showed that her pregnancy was progressing normally.

'The minute they told me the baby was dead I didn't believe them. It was mother's intuition. I insisted on having another test. They weren't happy about it and said I really should have a termination.

'If I had listened to them I would have lost my baby. It doesn't bear thinking about.'

The Brighton hospital trust's chief executive Duncan Selbie wrote to apologise, saying Sofia should have been offered a second scan before she was told of any potential problem with her pregnancy.

He said: 'Human errors of this sort are extremely unusual within the service.'

The hospital has also apologised to Joanna Barro, whose ordeal happened three years ago in the same department. 'I am extremely sorry for the distress this must have caused Miss Barro in the early stages of her pregnancy,' said Duncan Selbie.

Joanna says she still suffers nightmares about losing her baby. 'I did not think this was the kind of thing doctors could make a mistake about. When they told me my baby was dead I believed them.'

Cuddling Ruby yesterday, she said: 'I call her my miracle baby because I really did think I'd lost her.'

You can read more on ultrasound scans in the following Parentdish articles:
'How I coped with my scary scan results'
What is a dating scan?
Experts warn against non-essential ultrasound scans.