Mum blames King’s Mill Hospital for baby’s death

Kings Mill Hospital, Sutton.
Kings Mill Hospital, Sutton.

A mum-to-be who begged hospital midwives to take her to the birthing centre gave birth to a stillborn daughter as staff insisted she was not in labour, delaying her vital care.

Becky Malpass, from Mansfield, had telephoned King’s Mill Hospital after her waters broke at home, but despite telling midwives as her pain increased that she was in labour, they insisted she was not and suggested that she monitor this before calling back again.

Becky, 28, said: “There were so many missed opportunities, I feel like they are murderers, or like it was manslaughter, they could have done something but they didn’t.

“An apology won’t make things right. It won’t bring Freya back. But by identifying failings and lessons from her death I hope steps will be taken to improve maternity care and ensure no other parent loses a baby the same way I did.

“As an expectant mother you have faith in those treating you, they are the professionals after all, but I was scared, and in pain.

“The agony of not knowing how close I was to giving birth to Freya early enough to save her will stay with me forever.”

Becky was classed as a high risk pregnancy as her eldest daughter, now three, was born premature.

Sherwood Forest Hospitals found: “human error led to inadequate care being assessed, planned and implemented, which led to the sad death”.

Andy Haynes, medical director at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs King’s Mill, said: “We are extremely sorry for Becky and her family’s devastating loss, there are no real words to describe the loss of a baby and we understand how difficult this must be.

“A full incident investigation was carried out, which highlighted some aspects of care that were not delivered to the standards we expect. Actions have been taken to address these and we have shared the learning widely throughout the maternity service.”

The investigation report recommended:

+Staff need to be more vigilant of women presenting with high-risk pregnancies to ensure that all plans of care reflect problems alongside existing complications;

+ Consultants should be involved and kept informed of events;

+ Continued education of foetal heart monitoring for all staff;

+ Improvement in escalation within the maternity unit is essential and must be used in all aspects of care.

+ All staff involved must reflect on this case and learn from decisions that were made that impacted on the care received.

Kimberley Nightingale, an expert medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, and who representing Becky, said: “What is particularly concerning about Becky’s case is the disregard to her concerns when she presented at the hospital having experienced her waters breaking with reduced movement from her baby and then her increasing pain.

“In this situation, Becky’s case should have been escalated to an obstetrician – a decision which could have saved Freya’s life.

“Becky hopes that by acknowledging its mistakes, the trust will have learned from this tragic case, to avoid similar mistakes and distress in the future.”