Southend Hospital apologises to Tracy Godwin after her baby was left to die in her arms

Ecstatic – Tracy Godwin, right, with solicitor Johanne Turner

Ecstatic – Tracy Godwin, right, with solicitor Johanne Turner

First published in News by

A MUM whose premature baby boy died less than an hour after he was born says she can finally move on after an inquest found Southend Hospital had failed to give her proper care.

Coroner Caroline Beasley- Murray highlighted four lapses in care when Tracy Godwin gave birth to her son Tomat 22 weeks and two days into her pregnancy on March 6, 2010.

The baby lived for 46 minutes before dying in his mother’s arms with no hospital staff present attempted to resuscitate him or comfort her.

The hospital’s policy of not resuscitating babies born before 23 weeks had not been explained to Miss Godwin.

She has received an unreserved apology from the hospital which has fully accepted its failings and put in place new guidelines and training to ensure it never happens again.

An inquest at Chelmsford Coroners Court found Southend Hospital failed in its provision of care on four grounds: ! Delays in providing an obstetric review when Miss Godwin was admitted to hospital.

She was not reviewed by a consultant until the next day.

! Inadequate counselling despite the death of her baby in extremely traumatic circumstances.

! Poor communication. Miss Godwin was not told what the hospital’s policywas for babies born so prematurely, so she was unaware Tom would not be resuscitated or what would happen when he was born.

! The absence of a paediatrician to explain to Miss Godwin before the birth the baby would not be resuscitated and what would happen. The paediatrician should also have been present after the birth.

Miss Godwin, who received undisclosed damages from the hospital in January, welcomed the findings of the inquest and the apology from the hospital.

She said: “I am ecstatic with the results. They have said sorry and the inquest is over.

That is a milestone from which I can move, but it doesn’t bring Tom back.

“It has been an incredibly difficult four years since the death of my baby, Tom, in horrendous circumstances.

“I have finally received an apology and the coroner has found the trust failed in its care of me and my baby. This means a lot to me, for what I went through, but also to Tom’s memory.”

Above all, Miss Godwin said she welcomed the implementation the new procedures, dding: “This ordeal has brought about change at the hospital and the fact no other mother will go through what I went through is a positive that I will cherish.

“There are now new policies and guidelines in place, known by all maternity staff and which I have had an assurance will be followed at all times.”

New guidelines introduced for premature births after incident

SOUTHEND Hospital has new guidelines telling staff what to do in such cases.

The hospital also carries out annual training, so staff are aware of the procedures that must be followed.

In addition, it is making the guidelines available for all staff to access at all times, and providing bereavement counselling training to a large number of midwives, so there is always someone on duty who is able to provide it.

Sue Hardy chief nurse said: “We again offer our sincere condolences to Miss Godwin on the loss of her baby and are truly sorry her experience of care did not meet the high standard we strive to provide.

“We have carried out a great deal of work to improve our policy for babies born under 24 weeks old and have increased the level of training and awareness among staff of how to better support families.”

Johanne Turner, clinical negligence partner at BTMK Solicitors in Southend, who
acted for Ms Godwin, said: “This was one of the worst cases of clinical negligence arising out of maternity care I have ever worked on.

“Four years on from the tragic death of Tracy’s baby I am absolutely delighted she has received an admittance of fault and an apology.”

Mother left without help or comfort

TRACY Godwin experienced a normal pregnancy with a due date of July 8, 2010.

On March 4, however, when she was 22 weeks pregnant, she experienced severe abdominal pain and was devastated to be told she was in labour.

She suffered three days of excruciating pain and contractions in hospital and, when told her baby was unlikely to survive being born at 23 weeks, told staff they should do everything possible to keep it alive.

Tom was eventually born after a midwife forcibly broke her waters. He weighed only one pound and had difficulty breathing, but no consultant came to assist.

Tracy asked for help and asked why there was no incubator in the room, but medical staff refused to take the child to the baby care unit and he died in her arms 46 minutes later.

After six weeks, Tracy was told resuscitating her baby was against hospital policy.

Following her ordeal, she has since given birth to daughter Isla at a different hospital. Isla was also premature, born at 24 weeks, but is a healthy girl.

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