A newborn baby, Abigail Miller, due to the repeated oversight of warning signs during labor by midwives who relied solely on telephone assessments.
The investigation found that the midwives failed to recognize the danger faced by the mother, Katie Fowler, and neglected to bring her into the hospital.
Abigail tragically passed away just 48 hours after being born by emergency C-section in the reception area of a hospital.
This unfortunate event occurred while her mother, Katie Fowler, experienced a cardiac arrest.
The independent inquiry uncovered that the midwives solely conducted assessments over the phone and missed two crucial opportunities to bring Ms. Fowler in for evaluation.
Shockingly, they also neglected to call for an emergency ambulance when her condition worsened.
An inquest conducted last week unequivocally concluded that Abigail would have survived if her mother had been admitted to the hospital earlier.
Ms. Fowler, aged 37, and her husband, Rob Miller, aged 39, have joined other grieving families in demanding a statutory inquiry into the maternity services of England.
Mr. Miller acknowledged the immense pressure the midwives were under that night. He emphasized that this was not merely due to individual mistakes but indicative of deep-rooted systemic issues within the healthcare service.
The couple contacted the maternity unit at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton four times on January 21, 2022, after Ms. Fowler went into labor on her expected due date. Two of these calls reported alarming incidents of blood loss.
Tragically, they were directed to remain home until their fourth call at 7 pm. At that point, Mr. Miller noticed his wife’s pale complexion, blue lips, and struggle to breathe.
Inquiry into Maternity Services Following Baby Abigail’s Loss
However, the midwives dismissed her distressing symptoms as a panic attack and instructed the couple to make their way to the hospital.
Unbeknownst to them, Ms. Fowler was suffering from massive internal bleeding caused by a rare complication known as uterine rupture, which occurs when the womb tears.
As the couple arrived at the hospital in a taxi, Ms. Fowler’s heart stopped due to excessive blood loss.
Medical professionals immediately responded by conducting emergency surgery on Ms. Fowler and created a resuscitation area using two chairs in an attempt to stabilize Abigail.
Although Ms. Fowler survived after spending two days in a coma and was able to meet her daughter, Abigail tragically passed away in her parents’ arms later that day.
Ms. Fowler expressed deep anguish, lamenting that the outcome could have been different if she had been admitted to the hospital earlier. She firmly stated that they had been severely let down and needlessly exposed to this traumatic experience.
The inquiry conducted by the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch further reinforced that a phone advice line is not intended to provide a diagnosis.
The couple’s lawyer, Nisha Sharma of Slater and Gordon, argued that were it not for the advice provided at the time, Abigail would still be alive today.
The University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust has since taken measures to improve staffing levels, enhance training, and revamp its telephone triage service.
This deeply distressing occurrence shows the importance of conducting a thorough assessment of maternity services in England to prevent similar sad demise and guarantee the health and safety of expecting mothers and infants throughout the delivery process.