A FAMILY say medics at Southend Hospital decided not to resuscitate their baby daughter – even before she was born.

When the 33-year-old mum went into premature labour at 24 weeks on April 1, she was taken into the labour ward and it was then doctors asked her to sign a Do Not Resuscitate form.

The request prompted her partner, also 33, to demand her be moved to another hospital.

Baby Lily was born at the Homerton Hospital, Hackney, after doctors there successfully delayed the labour for three days. She weighed just 1lb 6oz and nearly four months later is doing well.

The hospital has now launched an investigation into the Southend family’s claims.

Lily’s father filed a complaint with the hospital saying he believes his child would have died if she had been delivered at Southend.

He said: “They made no effort at all. They were preparing to hand me my daughter in a box.

“My partner has had two children before so she knew the signs, but we were left on our own for more than four hours. When things got worse and I could see blood, I called for them to see to her. She was in a really distressed state. When they started talking about us signing a DNR form I just lost it.”

The mum-of-two believed her waters had broken when she was admitted to a Southend Hospital labour ward.

As things progressed she became more afraid she was about to lose her baby. However, the couple say no attempt was made to try and stop labour or administer vital cortisone which would help the baby’s lungs if she was born early.

The mum, who has a six-year-old son and ten-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, was finally given steroids and transferred to the Homerton.

She had survived cervical cancer which made her a high risk for premature labour.

Her partner said: “She was totally different there. They stopped the labour and she was like normal.

Because her waters had broken she started to get an infection and they had to deliver the baby, but they gave her time for the steroids to work.

“She was in hospital for three months. The care was amazing.

There was never a question of giving up. They fought every inch of the way and we are so grateful to them.”

Lily’s mum said: “I believe if we hadn’t gone to the Homerton Lily wouldn’t be here today. We don’t want another family to go through this. We just kept hoping and praying she would be alright. They were really positive at the Homerton saying they did this all the time and she would be fine.”

Lily has since been transferred back to Southend Hospital’s neo natal unit and it is hoped she will soon be allowed home.

Denise Townsend, associate director of nursing and governance at Southend Hospital, said: “We will fully investigate any complaint we receive and feed back to the person concerned as well as arranging to discuss concerns face-to-face."



MOST doctors define the age of viability as being about 24 weeks of gestation.

In many hospitals, 24 weeks is the cut-off point for when doctors will use intensive medical intervention to attempt to save the life of a baby born prematurely.

A baby born at 24 weeks would generally require a lot of intervention, potentially including mechanical

ventilation and other invasive treatments followed by a lengthy stay in a neonatal intensive care


In the hands of experienced specialists, though, babies born slightly earlier may have a chance at survival.

Babies born at 23 weeks may survive with these specialists in a stateof- the-art NICU, but the odds of survival are much lower. The earliest baby to have ever survived premature birth was born at 21 weeks and 6 days.

Odds of survival increase as the pregnancy progresses, and even an extra week in the womb can make a difference.