Derriford Hospital maternity error
ITV news is reporting on a maternity error case that two of our partners, Caroline Webber-Brown and Oliver Thorne, are currently working on. The case concerns a baby, Giles Cooper-Hall, who died 15 hours after being born at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth. An investigation has found that maternity staff at the hospital missed a number of opportunities to intervene to save Giles’ life.
His mother, Ruth Cooper-Hall, went to Derriford hospital when she was 41 weeks pregnant after experiencing reduced fetal movement, but was sent home by staff who told her that they were not concerned about the baby’s condition. However the investigation concluded that hospital staff had failed to carry out proper checks due to the fact that Derriford’s maternity unit was ‘busy’ at the time.
The investigation report also found that when clinicians failed to detect the baby’s heartbeat during labour they didn’t recognise the urgency of the situation. When baby Giles was born around half an hour later he showed no signs of life. Doctors could not resuscitate him, and he sadly passed away.
The report is particularly critical of communication within the Derriford hospital maternity team and found that handover procedures failed to highlight the fact that this was not a routine case. The report concludes::
“Had the full plan of care been handed over between the clinicians caring for the mother, there may have been a different outcome for the baby.”
The responsible NHS Trust has reassured patients that the safety recommendations contained in the report will be fully implemented.
Maternity negligence solicitor Caroline Webber-Brown, who is assisting the family, commented:
“The loss of a baby is always tragic, but to learn that alternative care could have changed the outcome is almost impossible to comprehend. Ruth and Allison have sought my assistance to get answers and gain an understanding of what happened during Giles’ birth. They also wish to help prevent this happening to other families.”
An inquest into Giles’ death will shortly be held, where the family will be represented by the head of our specialist clinical negligence team, Oliver Thorne. Oliver has been an active and passionate campaigner for improved maternity care in Britain’s hospitals and is regularly featured in the news. You can read elsewhere on this site about the maternity error cases he has been involved with.