Baby Jessica Harrison died after delivery delay at Southend Hospital

Echo: Mary-Jayne and Simon Harrison with their eldest daughter Rebecca Mary-Jayne and Simon Harrison with their eldest daughter Rebecca

A BABY died from picking up an infection in the womb after her mother was kept waiting three-and-a-half hours for an unplanned Caesarian section.

Jessica Harrison died at Southend Hospital on September 30 at just eight-hours-old after she inhaled infected material before her birth which caused aspiration pneumonia.

A two-day inquest, at Chelmsford Coroner’s Court on Wednesday and Thursday, heard that Jessica’s mother Mary- Jayne, of Woodleigh Avenue, Leigh, was waiting for one specialist at the hospital, in Prittlewell Chase, who was dealing with another birth.

An extra consultant, who was available, was not called in to help.

Questioning Pauline Moore, the midwife in charge of coordinating staff that night, assistant coroner Yvonne Blake asked: “Women give birth at inconvenient times.

You must have called for help at inconvenient times before, why didn’t you call for help on this occasion?”

Mrs Moore replied: “Because we hoped for a good outcome.”

Ms Blake then said: “What you’re saying to me is the only reason for not calling the oncall consultant is that you thought it would be all right?”

The co-ordinator didn't visit Mrs Harrison but relied on data from scan reports as to her condition.

Mary-Jayne went into labour at about 9.40pm on September 29, 2012.

By 3am, the pregnancy had not progressed at adequate speed, and Dr Fozia Malik, the specialist registrar, decided to send her for a Caesarian.

However, he was then sent into theatre to help a woman who had been fully dilated for two hours, was not on pain killers and overweight.

By 4am, Mary-Jayne was showing signs she was suffering from an infection and was given antibiotics and paracetamol through a drip.

She waited until about 6am before she was seen by Dr Malik again, by which time it was too late to perform a Caesarian and Jessica was born at about 6.30am by forceps delivery.

Baby Jessica showed signs of inhaling meconium, a stool which is passed when a baby is in distress in the womb.

Doctors tried to get her breathing on her own.

However, they were unable to help her survive longer than eight hours. She had no other underlying health issues.

Dr Malik and two midwives told the inquest with hindsight they would have acted differently, but said Mrs Harrison didn’t appear to be an emergency case and the other birth took longer than expected.

Mrs Harrison, questioning Dr Malik, said: “Three-and-ahalf hours, I think that’s too long, so much could be done in that time.”

She replied: “I wouldn’t have planned three-and-a-half hours, but there was an emergency. I was tied up elsewhere.”

The inquest also heard evidence suggesting a speedier delivery may not have helped Jessica.

Pathologist Michael Ashworth said: “The infection must have been picked up from the umbilical chord in the womb, so it was before birth, but I am unable to say if it was hours, days or whatever period.”

Echo:

JESSICA'S heartbroken parents claim Southend Hospital got it all wrong when it came to their care.

Mary-Jayne and her husband Simon, spoke out about the care they received as assistant coroner Yvonne Blake recorded a narrative verdict at the inquest into Jessica’s death.

Mr Harrison said: “I can’t stop the sequence of events playing in my mind, as to what we could have done to prevent it. If interventions were made earlier, my opinion is Jessica would be with us today.”

Mrs Harrison said: “I feel Dr Malik took on too much. The woman before me was an emergency, but so was I, so was Jessica – the baby I carried around and felt kick for nine months, whom I let her sister talk to. It breaks my heart that she will never meet her sister.”

She added: “I’m disturbed that I never met the co-ordinator until she was here (at the inquest) speaking.

“I never met her, yet she played such an important role.

“I’m outraged that, despite everything, she never came to see for herself her patient. She just relied on computer screens.”

Mr Harrison added: “If I knew people were concerned, people were upset, people were trying to put a case across that there was some concern, I would have stepped in. I would’ve have used as much of my argumentative power as possible to push and push for that second theatre to be opened."

Southend Hospital has made changes since the tragedy - including giving midwives more encouragement to "escalate" cases if they are worried about the women involved.

Jessica's delivery is now used as a case study in training.

Comments (6)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

3:22pm Sat 8 Feb 14

emcee says...

Maybe midwives are frightened to escalate in case they are castigated for it should they be judged by their superiors to have been over-cautious.
Health professionals should be able to feel comfortable that they can be over-cautious rather than to have to worry about "hindsight". Maybe the doctors and consultants need to be a bit more pro active rather than reactive and show nurses and midwives that they can be called upon whatever the circumstance and that nothing is too much bother, especially where lives could be at risk.
Maybe midwives are frightened to escalate in case they are castigated for it should they be judged by their superiors to have been over-cautious. Health professionals should be able to feel comfortable that they can be over-cautious rather than to have to worry about "hindsight". Maybe the doctors and consultants need to be a bit more pro active rather than reactive and show nurses and midwives that they can be called upon whatever the circumstance and that nothing is too much bother, especially where lives could be at risk. emcee

3:37pm Sat 8 Feb 14

jolllyboy says...

Being cautious is the name of the game. You dont play with peoples lives. This could have been serious for the mother too. So sorry for this family.
Being cautious is the name of the game. You dont play with peoples lives. This could have been serious for the mother too. So sorry for this family. jolllyboy

11:26pm Sat 8 Feb 14

Fairylottie10 says...

They haven't learnt at all! My sister-in-law was only given a c-section as her partner insisted upon it due to what their consultant told them... The staff on duty were very reluctant. Subsequent meetings have seen the trust admit that they were very wrong. We were lucky and the outcome was good, but it could so easily have been VERY different! I feel for you both xxx
They haven't learnt at all! My sister-in-law was only given a c-section as her partner insisted upon it due to what their consultant told them... The staff on duty were very reluctant. Subsequent meetings have seen the trust admit that they were very wrong. We were lucky and the outcome was good, but it could so easily have been VERY different! I feel for you both xxx Fairylottie10

12:07pm Sun 9 Feb 14

Kim Gandy says...

Unbelievable chain of events.

All concerned with overseeing this situation - and communication therein - should be sacked.

I feel so sorry for this poor family. How devastating.
Unbelievable chain of events. All concerned with overseeing this situation - and communication therein - should be sacked. I feel so sorry for this poor family. How devastating. Kim Gandy

7:00pm Sun 9 Feb 14

runwellian says...

Kim Gandy wrote:
Unbelievable chain of events.

All concerned with overseeing this situation - and communication therein - should be sacked.

I feel so sorry for this poor family. How devastating.
Can't agree more!
This woman should be sacked or sued for neglect!

Whatever did or didn't happen, a child died that should have been born safely and lived a full life. It is not good enough to give excuses! If the mother failed to feed the child it would die of neglect and the mother would be charged with a criminal offence so what is the difference when a child dies because the doctors failed to act?

There are to many cases of lives being lost due to neglect and I would do all I could to ensure this doctor is not allowed to practice gain. One error maybe, but it cost a child its life, that is one life too many!
[quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: Unbelievable chain of events. All concerned with overseeing this situation - and communication therein - should be sacked. I feel so sorry for this poor family. How devastating.[/p][/quote]Can't agree more! This woman should be sacked or sued for neglect! Whatever did or didn't happen, a child died that should have been born safely and lived a full life. It is not good enough to give excuses! If the mother failed to feed the child it would die of neglect and the mother would be charged with a criminal offence so what is the difference when a child dies because the doctors failed to act? There are to many cases of lives being lost due to neglect and I would do all I could to ensure this doctor is not allowed to practice gain. One error maybe, but it cost a child its life, that is one life too many! runwellian

8:56pm Sun 9 Feb 14

cgb says...

Yes how sensible- anybody who ever makes one error of any kind in their job should be sacked immediately- runwellian. Because I'm sure you have NEVER made any errors of any kind whatsoever regardless of what job you are doing have you....oh wait. What you have???????? Well you should never work again. Too bad that there is no black and white in medicine and by proceeding to C section you are doubling the mortality of mother and child.....how dare this doctor try and make a fine line judgement call and get it wrong???? Atrocious- sack her now despite the fact she has had thousands spent training her from tax payer money and will probably regret this decision FOR LIFE!!! Sack all doctors who make any mistake immediately- oh wait a minute then we wouldn't have any doctors at al would we because they are humans not robots......
Yes how sensible- anybody who ever makes one error of any kind in their job should be sacked immediately- runwellian. Because I'm sure you have NEVER made any errors of any kind whatsoever regardless of what job you are doing have you....oh wait. What you have???????? Well you should never work again. Too bad that there is no black and white in medicine and by proceeding to C section you are doubling the mortality of mother and child.....how dare this doctor try and make a fine line judgement call and get it wrong???? Atrocious- sack her now despite the fact she has had thousands spent training her from tax payer money and will probably regret this decision FOR LIFE!!! Sack all doctors who make any mistake immediately- oh wait a minute then we wouldn't have any doctors at al would we because they are humans not robots...... cgb

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree