United Kingdom

Baby death caused by care mistakes sparks fresh safety concerns at Morecambe Bay hospital trust

An NHS Trust at the centre of a major inquiry into unsafe maternity care five years ago has now admitted that a baby boy died due to mistakes by hospital staff.

A damning report by the health watchdog blasted the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust in Cumbria for its poor maternity services in 2015.

An independent inquiry concluded a 'lethal mix' of failings at its Furness General Hospital had caused the avoidable deaths of at least 11 babies and one mother.

Now it has emerged that an inspection of the unit by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has found similar concerns about maternity care five years on.

The CQC report, which has been unearthed for the first time, said: 'Staff morale was low and there were strained relationships between clinicians and nursing staff.'

It can now be revealed that the Trust admitted negligence in the care of Jenny and Toby Feasey as part of a court case brought by law firm JMW

Jenny and her husband Daniel described the heartbreaking loss of their baby boy Toby 

The Trust has said it has taken action to improve the situation.

It can now be revealed that the Trust admitted negligence in the care of Jenny and Toby Feasey as part of a court case brought by law firm JMW.

Mrs Feasey, from Heysham in Lancashire, lost her son Toby at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary in January 2017 after staff failed to act on her pre-eclampsia, a condition that occurs during pregnancy and can be dangerous.

She is now calling on midwives to learn from what happened to her family, telling The Independent: 'This was an easily avoidable situation. They just didn't piece it together, all they had to do was carry out a test and I lost my son because of it.'

She had woken up with pain in her back on New Year's Eve in 2016 and had called the community midwife, who told her that Toby was 'just a big baby' and to take paracetamol every four hours to see if the pain subsided.

On January 5, she attended an appointment with her midwife who found her abdomen was smaller than two weeks previously. 

They could not find Toby's heartbeat. 

Mrs Feasey's family had a history of pre-eclampsia but it was wrongly documented in her notes that this was her grandmother and not her mother

Mrs Feasey's family had a history of pre-eclampsia but it was wrongly documented in her notes that this was her grandmother and not her mother. 

The Trust has accepted that Toby would have survived if a routine lab test had been requested by a midwife after a dipstick test at 35 weeks revealed significantly raised protein levels in Mrs Feasey's urine, a key symptom of pre-eclampsia.     

Lucy Mellor, clinical negligence solicitor at JMW, said: 'The maternity safety training fund has been found to enhance the skills, knowledge, and awareness of staff, and improve multi-professional working and communication. 

'Each of these were either diminished or absent in Jenny's case and the theme has sadly been consistent across hundreds of other cases we have dealt with.' 

Sue Smith, chief nurse and deputy chief executive at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay, told The Independent: 'Toby's case is a very tragic one and our condolences go out to Jennifer. While we have written to her and admitted liability in this terribly sad case – it is still awaiting a final settlement.' 

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