Couple heard staff talk about sweets during triage delay hours before baby died (2024)

A Nottinghamshire couple say the death of their son just a day after he was born has left them "scarred", as a midwife admitted there was a lack of communication before the tragedy. Amelia Bradley, from Kirkby-in-Ashfield, said the death of baby Theo in September has left her struggling to trust healthcare professionals again.

An inquest heard there were delays in triaging the 26-year-old, who was 41 weeks pregnant, at King's Mill Hospital (KMH), with a midwife admitting there had been an "oversight". Theo was born by an emergency Caesarean section on September 14 but died one day later from a severe brain injury.

Ms Bradley and her partner Luke told the hearing at Nottingham Council House on Wednesday, July 3, he had "endured more than any baby should ever have to endure". In a statement read out in court they said: "We now must experience every day without our son.

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"He was a healthy baby throughout the entire 41 weeks of our pregnancy and he should be here with us today, living his life as a healthy and happy 10-month-old baby. We are now deprived of our son.

"We underwent a traumatic birth that has scarred us and now struggle to trust the health professionals we were expected to, with fear of what could happen should we ever fall pregnant again."

Ms Bradley, an admin manager who was having her first baby, began passing blood "like a deep period loss" and experiencing unbearable pain in the early hours of September 14. "It was a severe amount of pain to the point I was struggling to speak," she said.

She was told to return to the Sherwood Birthing Unit, where she was first checked by a healthcare support worker at 1.15am, but this was not followed up with a visit by a midwife. Her partner Luke shouted for help from staff twice, but his partner was not not seen for around 40 minutes, the inquest heard.

Whilst waiting, they said they heard a staff member say "I can't believe how many Haribos I've had tonight", adding: "It seemed like they were chatting between themselves. We became increasingly frustrated."

A midwife eventually came and "appeared to be worried" after checking on Ms Bradley, who recalled the room filling quickly with "eight or nine people", with many seeming panicked. Upon his birth, Theo was transferred to Nottingham City Hospital's neonatal unit, where the decision was made to stop his treatment.

Couple heard staff talk about sweets during triage delay hours before baby died (1)

The couple said there was a "lack of communication" within the department as to who was responsible for seeing Ms Bradley in triage. "They would have appreciated we were in an emergency situation and Theo could've been born earlier and survived," they said. "We heard conversations about Haribos while I was left breathing and Theo was fighting for his life.

"We're concerned about failings in the care provided to me and that they contributed to the death of my son." Rachel Smedley, the triage midwife who told the family to return to the birthing unit, was quizzed over the decisions she made after taking the call.

She said she went to carry out checks on emergency equipment across the unit just after she had spoken with them. Rachel Young, from law firm Irwin Mitchell which is representing the family, said: "You knew there was a patient coming in, why did you put emergency equipment checks above triaging that patient?"

Couple heard staff talk about sweets during triage delay hours before baby died (2)

Ms Smedley replied: "There was another midwife present but I can't recall the rest of the rationale." The inquest heard Ms Smedley did not directly tell the other triage midwife on shift, Glenys Wood, that Ms Bradley was coming in before she took on other duties, instead writing the name of the patient on a whiteboard.

"Why was there no handover? Why was there no direct communication with Ms Wood?," questioned assistant coroner Elizabeth Didco*ck. "I believe it was an oversight, historically we write names on the board, sometimes that's our only form of communication," answered the midwife.

Ms Smedley also admitted that if Ms Bradley had been seen immediately by a midwife it would have resulted in an immediate call to the registrar, saying the amount of blood on the pad would have triggered a 'code red'.

Ms Didco*ck said she was also not satisfied that the notes taken by the midwife over the phone "doesn't cover the amount of blood loss" by Ms Bradley. When asked what she would do differently, Ms Smedley said she would record the amount that was being reported more clearly.

The inquest heard several changes had been made at birthing unit hospital since Theo's death, including a requirement to see triage patients within 15 minutes and receptionists requiring cover while they go on a break. Ms Smedley said the option of moving triage from the unit was being explored by hospital bosses.

Couple heard staff talk about sweets during triage delay hours before baby died (2024)
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