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The hospital errors leaving new parents devastated

The hospital errors leaving new parents devastated
From BBC - May 7, 2017

More than 1,400 mistakes are being recorded by maternity staff in hospitals in England each week on average. For some families, those errors can have life-changing consequences.

"Every single day we have to live with the fact that we are a victim of the NHS," Adam Asquith tells the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme.

Adam and his fiancee, Sarah Ellis, were expecting their first child in 2014.

"When I first fell pregnant, everything was amazing. We were over the Moon," Sarah says.

When she went into labour, the pair headed to Calderdale Royal Hospital, in Halifax.

But once there, Sarah was left waiting on a busy maternity ward - even though she told staff she was concerned she could not feel her baby moving.

'Unrecoverable'

"We were left for six hours, we did not really know anything, they just told us and reassured us that everything was OK," she says.

Gino was finally delivered by Caesarean section.

But Sarah and Adam's joy quickly turned to despair.

"One of the doctors pulled me to one side and just said, 'He's not in a good condition, he was born in a really bad condition, and if he does pull through, he's going to be very badly brain damaged,'" Adam says.

"I was in the corridor with Sarah's mum and dad and I just said, 'How am I going to tell Sarah that he's not all right?'"

Gino was placed on a life-support machine. But just days later, Sarah and Adam were advised to withdraw treatment.

"The words used were that he was 'unrecoverable' and that was when we knew he was not going to get any better," she says. "We had to make a joint decision that we would turn the machines off."

'Why us?'

The inquest later showed Sarah should have had an emergency Caesarean section hours before she finally did.

A report found medical staff had failed to act on warning signs and Gino had been severely starved of oxygen.

The coroner said the hospital had missed four opportunities to save Gino's life.

"Everyone makes mistakes - I do, we all do - but to see so many people make so many different mistakes within six hours is just shocking," Sarah says.

"People who you put your trust in, your life is in their hands, and Gino's life was in their hands and they did not take care of him."

Sarah and Adam decided to take legal action against the hospital trust and were paid compensation.

"Every single day I think, 'Why? Why us?" Adam says.

An investigation by the Victoria Derbyshire programme has found an average of more than 1,400 mistakes a week were recorded in England's NHS maternity units between 2013 and 2016.

Figures from 81 NHS trusts out of the 132 in England - obtained through a Freedom of Information request - showed 305,019 adverse incidents had been recorded in the four-year period.

Angry for life

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