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Sebastian Clark was just four days old when he died, having succumbed to the brain injury he sustained during his birth.
In January, at an inquest into Sebastian’s death, it was concluded that during his mum’s long labour, he developed an infection which resulted in birth injuries including multiple organ failure and a lack of oxygen supply to the brain.
Sebastian’s parents had repeatedly asked for an emergency caesarean section after Alison, his mum, developed an infection.
Dr Cummings, the coroner, attacked the
“lamentable number of individual failings, both in terms of assessing the available information… and communicating that to staff”
He also commented on the “inadequate leadership” and staff complacency while managing Alison’s labour.
When Alison’s waters broke at 11pm on March 6th 2017, she and her husband, Justin, attended Kingston Hospital, run by Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, where medical staff gave a “sweep” and then sent them home. The inquest heard that this procedure, which is used to encourage birth by widening the cervix, can cause an infection by activating any bacteria that may be in the cervix.
The couple returned to the hospital the following evening upon which medical staff found some excretions from the baby in Alison’s waters, which can indicate that the baby is in distress. At this point the couple asked if a caesarean was needed, but were told it was not necessary.
Alison had another sweep that evening, after which she had a raised temperature and the baby’s heart rate began to fluctuate. The parents to be again asked if a caesarean was required, and again were told no.
At 4am the next day, Alison was ready to give birth, so was given an epidural and medical staff encouraged her to push. Once again, Sebastian’s parents asked about a caesarean but were again told it was not needed. After an hour, and more requests for a caesarean, a registrar was sent for and Alison was told to stop pushing.
At around 7am Alison was taken into theatre and Sebastian was delivered by forceps.
Once delivered, Sebastian wasn’t moving, and it took medical staff 26 minutes to get a heartbeat.
Sebastian was transferred to the specialist baby unit at St George’s in Tooting. Unfortunately, scans over the next two days showed the birth injury to Sebastian’s brain had been catastrophic. His parents made the heart-breaking decision to remove his life support at just 4 days old.
Alison was left with the feeling that it was all her fault, until she requested her medical notes. She received those with a covering letter saying, “Sorry for letting you down”.
The family were let down by the service they received. In cases such as these there may be an opportunity to make a compensation claim for a birth injury. If you feel you have received care that has resulted in an injury to you or your baby, our specialist birth injury lawyers can offer free initial advice.