Devastated parents ask - Why didn't Dudley's Russells Hall Hospital perform Caesarian?
A woman whose daughter was stillborn says she was refused a Caesarian despite raising her concerns that her baby was in distress.
And Jennie Collins says she was put in a 'filthy' room with blood spots on the sink and in the toilet and a bin full of medical waste while she waited to deliver tragic Layla having been told the devastating news.
Now the 31-year-old and her fiancé Daniel Davenport, aged 35, are demanding answers from Dudley's Russells Hall Hospital after their daughter was stillborn, despite asking for a Caesarian section.
And the couple have told of their concerns over how they were looked after, including how they were told they should drink water from a tap labelled for hand washing only.
Paula Clark, chief executive of the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, said:
"First and foremost we would like to offer our most sincere condolences to Miss Collins and her partner Mr Davenport on the sad loss of their baby daughter.
When a baby's heartbeat stops during pregnancy, it is almost impossible to know the cause until a post mortem has been carried out. It would be wrong to speculate on whether a Caesarean section would have resulted in a successful birth as our investigation is on-going and the results of the post mortem unknown.
A decision to undertake a Caesarean section is made taking into account individual circumstances and discussions between the obstetrician and the woman ensuring she is fully aware of the risks involved, as is the case with any surgical procedure.
We would generally advise on a vaginal birth, where possible, as Caesarean section results in leaving a scar on the uterus which could have implications for a future pregnancy. Our advice for the type of delivery always considers the safety of the woman.
All rooms within our Maternity Unit are thoroughly cleaned each and every time they are vacated in preparation for the next admission. In addition, the rooms are cleaned every day while they are occupied, taking into account the privacy and dignity of the woman. Clinical waste bins are collected twice a day.
Regarding the issue of the drinking water, our staff were asked specifically if there was a water fountain on the unit, which there is not. Miss Collins was provided with a water jug and glass which could be replenished as needed. Water from the cold water taps across the hospital is drinkable. Women admitted to the Maternity Unit are also provided with a daily selection of refreshments including tea, coffee and drinking chocolate.
We always carry out a thorough investigation into a still birth or neonatal death and this is led by an executive director. The results of the investigation are then reported to our local clinical commissioning group for scrutiny. We cannot comment further on the concerns raised by Miss Collins and Mr Davenport until our investigation has concluded."
- This article was amended on June 17 to include the condolences expressed by Paula Clark to Miss Collins and Mr Davenport, which were edited out of the earlier version. We apologise for incorrectly labelling it as the 'full statement' by not including the condolences in the first instance.
They are now considering legal action while the Dudley Group of Hospitals, which insists the room was cleaned before, during and after Miss Collins was in there, has appointed an executive director to investigate.
Miss Collins, a care home housekeeper, was 12 days over her due date when she went in to Russells Hall to be induced on June 3.
But after she and Mr Davenport, of Park Road, Lower Gornal, arrived they say they were left to wait in a room with no water jug.
Mr Davenport, a bus driver, said: "We had brought some drinks with us but by the early hours of the morning Jennie really needed some water. I went to find the nurses, who were drinking cups of tea or coffee and asked for a jug of water.
"One said 'what's wrong with the tap?
"When I said it was labelled for hand washing only they said it didn't matter."
While medical staff worked to induce the birth, Miss Collins was hooked up to a monitor to check the baby's heart rate.
But she became concerned when Layla's heart was beating faster than what she considered normal.
By the Friday, now 14 days overdue, Miss Collins was adamant that something was wrong and was asking for a Caesarian.
Miss Collins said: "They wouldn't agree to the Caesarian. My mom was pleading with them to do it. Dan's dad even contacted an MP to see if he could help or call someone. We were all so worried because it had been nearly two days.
"It got to the point where I was screaming 'just take the baby out'."
Layla's heart stopped beating on the Friday and it was confirmed she had passed away.
But Miss Collins also told how she believed the high dependency ward she was transferred to had not been cleaned - something the hospital has disputed.
She also said she saw spots of what appeared to be blood, there was medical waste in the bin and laundry was rolled up on the floor.
Mr Davenport said the couple were going public because they wanted to know whether a Caesarian could have saved Layla.
He said: "We just don't want anyone else to go through what we went through."
Dudley North MP Ian Austin said: "This is a really tragic situation and listening to the family's account and seeing their distress was heart-rending. I want to do all I can to help and have contacted the hospital's chief executive to ask for an urgent meeting for the family and a full investigation on their behalf."
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