A baby who died at childbirth may have survived but for “gross failings” in her care by staff at Queen’s Medical Centre, an inquest has concluded.
The hearing heard how Nottingham University Hospitals Trust’s neglect in care contributed to the death of baby Wynter Andrews, who was pronounced dead just 23 minutes after being born on September 15 last year.
Wynter’s mother Sarah Andrews, a council worker who now lives in Mansfield, says she felt “desperate, forgotten about and abandoned” after being admitted to the hospital the day before.
An inquest at Nottingham Coroner’s Court heard that staff failed to recognise Ms Andrews was in established and not latent labour, failed to act on high blood pressure readings and carried out four “inaccurate and insufficient handovers” to colleagues as part of a catalogue of errors in the lead up to baby Wynter’s death.
Midwives at the Queen’s Medical Centre told the court they were “overworked and understaffed” and said they didn’t feel able to professionally challenge colleagues at the hospital.
Assistant coroner Laurinda Bower said: “These failures have a direct link to Wynter’s death.”
She added: “The series of shortcomings in this case meant this situation was allowed to materialise because of the unsafe environment the unit was operating in at the time. It is a clear and obvious case of neglect.”
The cause of Wynter’s death was given as the entanglement of the umbilical cord being wrapped around her neck and acute chorioamnionitis – an inflammation of the placenta due to an infection.
She had also suffered a haemorrhage to the brain and lung.
Wynter arrived via a C Section and took “one gasp” of air after being born, but was “white and floppy”, with attempts to resuscitate her proving unsuccessful, the court heard.
Dr Gemma Wright, an obstetrician who was not involved in the care of Sarah Andrews, previously told the court if Sarah was granted a C-section one hour earlier it was likely Wynter would have survived.
A scan used to record the baby’s heartbeat was, however, incorrectly labelled as normal – despite showing a number of concerning decelerations.
Natalie Cosgrove, of Switalskis Solicitors, read out a statement on behalf of Wynter’s mother Sarah Andrews. She said: “Today our daughter Wynter has been given a voice and we hope that she will be heard and listened to.
“Wynter died from neglect rising from the gross failings from the care provided by Nottingham hospitals. She is a victim of the trust’s unsafe culture and practices.
“We know that Wynter isn’t an isolated incident. There have been other baby deaths because of the trust’s systemic failings.
“Whilst we welcome the coroner’s referral to the CQC for an investigation, we are calling for Matt Hancock to launch an investigation into the maternity services at the trust.
“Wynter lived in a moment of beauty, and had we listened to the trust rather than our own instincts, we would not have got the answers we needed.
“If Wynter’s story resonates with you, it is never too late to speak up and seek the answers that your baby deserves.”
Mandie Sunderland, chief nurse at Nottingham University Hospitals’ Trust, said: “I would like to say that we deeply regret and acknowledge that we failed the Andrews family and would like to sincerely apologise for the distress that has been caused.
“We acknowledge that if we had made better decisions the outcome may have been different and for that, we are truly sorry.
“We are taking forward a programme of work because we are determined to learn from this incident so we can do everything in our power to make sure that this does not happen again.”