THE parents of a baby who suffered severe brain damage at a maternity unit have launched a legal case against the hospital.

Basildon Hospital’s maternity services were rated inadequate in August after inspectors identified a cluster of babies who were starved of oxygen during birth and at risk of brain damage.

The couple are now taking legal action against Basildon Hospital as they claim failures led to their son suffering neonatal hypoxia – where the brain is starved from oxygen.

The boy was born in a poor condition and required resuscitation and intubation.

He underwent 72 hours of therapeutic cooling therapy, antibiotic treatment and a brain MRI.

The parents, who did not wish to be named, stated “serious neglect” occurred throughout the mother’s labour to the point that father was scared to leave her side.

He said: “Most of the time it was just me and her in the room together and I thought, “How can I leave her alone in this state? If the nurses aren’t very attentive to her while I am here what happens if I leave?”

Once the baby was born, he was separated from his parents and transferred to Homerton Hospital to receive urgent medical care while his mother remained at Basildon.

The boy’s mother said: “Nobody was giving me information as to how long my baby would be there or how he was doing.

“I was very distressed, not sleeping in the night while I was there, I kept on crying at night and pacing the wards.

“We hope that speaking about our experience helps to raise awareness and stop this happening again.”

Claudia Hillemand, partner at law firm Bolt Burdon Kemp, who are running the case, said: "We simply cannot overlook the devastating impact these failings in care have on patients and their families.

"In this case, what is most unacceptable is that alarms have been repeatedly sounded in recent years and months, yet it appears that lessons have not been learned and that in fact the problems have worsened."

Clare Panniker, chief executive for the Mid and South Essex NHS Trust, said: “We want every woman to have a positive birth experience and every baby to be born healthy, which is why we are working tirelessly to provide high quality care in our maternity unit.

“With the case currently under active investigation we are unable to make further comment.”