Newborn Dies After Careless Hospital Staff Monitor Her Mother’s Heart Rate Instead Of Hers

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A newborn baby died just a few hours after careless hospital staff monitored her mother’s heart rate instead of hers.

Sadie Pye was starved of oxygen at birth and then died soon after her mother Danielle Johnston, had her labour induced at Royal Bolton Hospital in June 2011. Experts found that if staff monitored Sadie’s heart rate they would have realised she was in distress and could have delivered the baby earlier.

Johnston, from Salford, Greater Manchester, said the delivery was even more traumatising as it took several midwives to cut the umbilical cord.

The hospital has admitted to negligence after the baby’s death after Ms Johnston and her husband Rob Pye took legal action.

The mother had induced labour after developing gestational diabetes at about eight months pregnant.

She said that midwives noticed the baby’s heart rate rise after her waters were broken, but said it went back to normal about 30 minutes later. She said: “A doctor came in to see me and said he would come back to check on Sadie’s heart rate but left me with the trainee midwife. He didn’t come back. I was in lots of pain so had an epidural but I kept going in and out of consciousness. It was weird and I knew something wasn’t right. A midwife noticed this and seemed to panic. She was looking at the CTG monitor (to monitor the baby’s heartbeat) and expressed concern.”

Johnston said the delivery was delayed further when midwives were unable to cut the umbilical cord.

She said: ‘The midwives were trying to cut the cord and it was all really traumatic. The student midwife was told to cut the cord but she said she had never done it. Another midwife tried to cut it and couldn’t do it. It seemed to take a lifetime and I felt so helpless.”

 Sadie was later taken to Arrowe Park Hospital in Wirral, after doctors said she had minor brain damage, however on the way the parents were told she had suffered a cardiac arrest. At Arrowe Park, doctors then switched off her life support and the couple stayed with Sadie until she passed away.

Ms Johnston, who later had another daughter, Bobbi, said: ‘Her death and what happened didn’t hit me until I went home without my baby. All the stuff we’d bought for her was there and I just wanted to curl up and die.’

 Bolton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has admitted the care given to the mother and baby was negligent and settled a legal case brought by the family for an undisclosed sum.

A clinical negligence specialist from Slater and Gordon law firm, Lauren Tully who represented the family, said: “Danielle and Rob have faced a long battle to get justice for Sadie and they are relieved it is finally at an end. It is deeply concerning that it wasn’t just one thing but a catalogue of errors that contributed to her tragic death and that is why it is so important that the trust looks closely at what went wrong and what can be done to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

 A spokeswoman for the Bolton NHS Foundation Trust said: ‘We are deeply sorry for the circumstances that led to the sad death of Ms Johnston’s daughter, Sadie. The trust carried out a full review into the care that Ms Johnston and her daughter received whilst they were patients at the hospital, and actions were identified and taken to minimise the risk of an incident of this nature happening again. We once again extend our apologies to the family for their loss.”

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