Baby died after warnings missed
A woman’s first child died two days after birth when medical staff failed to spot 30 warning signs indicating the baby’s life was at risk during labour.
Alwyn Callaway suffered fatal brain damage after his heart started failing while his mother Lisa, now 41, gave birth at Watford General Hospital.
The baby was born at 3.32pm, but an independent expert who examined records of the birth said Alwyn would have enjoyed a “good outcome” if he had been delivered by Caesarean section before 10.50am.
Mrs Callaway, who has had two more children since Alwyn died threeandahalf years ago, told BBC Wales one midwife had raised concerns with senior staff on 11 separate occasions during the labour and recorded them in her notes 30 times.
Alwyn was being monitored with a heart trace known as a cardiotachograph (CTG), and his mother was being given a drug called syntocinon to speed up her labour, which the Ombudsman said should have been stopped once the baby got into distress.
Mrs Callaway said: “The senior midwife and the registrar both looked at the heart traces and said there was nothing to be worried about.
“She [the junior midwife] was continuing to be concerned about his wellbeing, and she carried on writing in her notes that he was showing signs of distress and reported it to other members of staff.
“At any of those moments, one of them could have made a decision to have a Caesarean and they didn’t.”
Alwyn was eventually delivered with forceps, but was not moving when staff gave him to his mother.
Mrs Callaway said: “I immediately thought he was dead. I said to [my husband] William, ‘he’s dead, he’s dead’, and they took him to one side and rang the emergency alarm bells and started to work on him.”
The baby was transferred to a specialist hospital in London, but died two days later.
“If he had been delivered at 10 when the registrar was in the room with us, the outcome would have been fine, a perfectly happy, healthy baby,” Mrs Callaway added.
“If he’d been born at 1.30 he would have survived but been braindamaged.
“The fact they continued to up the dosage of the drugs which was causing the damage and distress to him meant that by the time he was born at 3.30 he had no chance.”
The Callaways’s case, brought against West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust which runs Watford General, was settled out of court last year.
A spokesman for the trust said following a review, the trust had employed “significantly” more midwives, with an ongoing recruitment programme and had introduced multidisciplinary training. Read more.
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