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Parents of Nottingham stillborn child call for law change

From BBC - October 5, 2017

A mother whose baby was delivered nine hours after dying has called for a law change that would allow coroners to investigate similar deaths.

Sarah Hawkins and husband Jack said the death of daughter Harriet at Nottingham City Hospital in April 2016 was "completely avoidable".

They said if inquests had been held into previous stillborn deaths, she may have survived.

Nottingham University Hospitals Trust has apologised for its "shortcomings".

The current legislation - under the Coroner and Justice Act 2009 - means in England and Wales a stillborn child or a foetus is not classed as a "deceased person".

Therefore, if a baby dies after 24 weeks of pregnancy, an inquest does not need to be held.

The couple believe had an inquest been held into other stillborn births at the trust, problems would have been identified and prompted changes that would have prevented Harriet's death.

'Gross errors'

Mr and Mrs Hawkins, who both work for the trust as a hospital consultant and senior physiotherapist respectively, planned for Harriet to be delivered at the Queen's Medical Centre (QMC).

Lawyers representing the couple said Harriet was the couple's first baby and there were no problems in the pregnancy.

They said between 13 and 17 April the couple made 10 calls to the trust and were discharged home after two visits to the QMC.

These "touch points" were "littered with gross errors and mismanagement, which led to Harriet's death".

These include:

'Unimaginable distress'

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