Following the recent death of a woman during childbirth, Basildon University Hospital has launched an investigation.
A spokesman for Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which manages the hospital, said: “Our condolences go out to the family in this very sad case, as it is currently under investigation, we are unable to make further comment.
“The safety of mums and babies whilst using our maternity services is our priority, and we strive to always offer the very best care.”
A CQC spokesman said: “We are aware a pregnant woman sadly died on Basildon Hospital’s maternity unit. Her death is being investigated by the trust.
“We continue to monitor the trust, along with all the services we regulate, to ensure people receive the safe and effective care and treatment they have a right to expect.”
The death follows a number of tragedies at hospitals managed by the Trust. These include:
- 36-year-old Gabriela Pintilie died in February 2019 after losing six litres of blood giving birth to her second child by Caesarean section. Essex coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray said there had been delays, confusion and a lack of leadership in the care of Mrs Pintilie. Medical staff failed to provide Mrs Pintillie a vital blood transfusion
- Another mother died in March 2019
- Stela Ernu, from South Ockendon ,had a stillborn baby also in March 2019. She described the situation:
“Every time I went in there, there were plenty of rooms empty… it’s a silly excuse for them to say they’ve been too busy. They’re just not doing their jobs properly.”
- New-born Frederick Terry died after suffering a brain haemorrhage during a forceps delivery in November 2019.
Essex coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray’s report into Frederick’s death states: “The injuries imply an excessive degree of force in the application of the forceps and traction.” In her report, Mrs Beasley-Murray said: “The evidence showed that baby Freddie’s very serious scalp and brain injuries were sustained during the failed forceps attempted delivery and, but for these, baby Freddie would have survived as a perfectly formed, healthy baby.”
- Ronnie Sullivan was stillborn in June 2020 at Basildon University Hospital. The hospital report noted that the baby died from hypoxia (lack of oxygen) most likely the result of the placenta pulling away from the uterus wall. The report also noted missed opportunities to detect pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure) during the mother’s pregnancy.
Ronnie’s mother Connie Copperthwaite-Jackson said: “I just wish that someone had listened to me because… I do think that he would still be here today.”
A spokesperson for Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust said:
“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go to both the families of Gabriela Pintilie and Ronnie Sullivan – both cases have been fully investigated as serious incidents and we have made sure that the Trust has learnt and continues to learn from these events.
“Over the last few years we have made improvements to our maternity services, including recruiting 40 newly qualified midwives, a consultant midwife, practice development midwives and maternity care assistants and securing almost £2 million in funding for the further recruitment and development of staff.”
Negligent Maternity Care at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust Hospitals
Figures obtained by Channel 4 news in January 2022 revealed that the trust paid £103m in damages for deaths and stillbirths at maternity units between April 2010 to March 2021. Of the 176 maternity claims made, 36 related to mothers and children dying, 27 referred to stillbirths and 55 concerned babies born with brain damage or cerebral palsy.
Basildon University Hospital is part of Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which also runs Southend and Broomfield hospitals. The Trust was created in April 2020 by the merger of the three trusts of Mid Essex, Southend and Basildon and its combined maternity units make it the third biggest in the country.
In December 2021 the maternity unity at Basildon Hospital had improved its Care Quality Commission (CQC) safety rating – being upgraded from “inadequate” to “requires improvement”. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspected maternity services at Basildon University Hospital on 12 June 2020 to follow up on safety concerns raised by a whistle-blower. Following the inspection a press release was issued on 19.08.2020 which identified concerns:
“The information received, and a subsequent review of the trust’s incident reports, showed that six serious incidents occurred in which babies were born in a poor condition and then transferred for cooling therapy in March and April 2020. Cooling therapy is a procedure offered as a treatment for such new-born babies. When such clusters of incidents are identified it is important to investigate them to identify any common causes and areas that could be improved to reduce the risk of further incidents.
During the focused inspection that followed, CQC found several concerns, including; high-risk women giving birth in the low-risk area, insufficient numbers of staff with the relevant skills and experience to keep women safe and provide the right care and treatment, and dysfunctional multidisciplinary team working which had impacted on the increased number of safety incidents reported.”
Making a compensation claim for mistakes made during pregnancy and childbirth
If you feel that the care you or your child received prior to, during or after birth was negligent, you may decide to bring a claim in order to secure justice and compensation for yours and your child’s injuries. Speak to one of our medical negligence solicitors who specialise in birth injuries.
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