Midwives ‘misread scans’ and didn’t listen to me – a day later my baby died in the womb | The SunOctober 13, 2022
A HEARTBROKEN mum lost her unborn daughter after midwives ignored her calls for help and misread several scans.
While heavily pregnant, Zoe Wall, 35, told nurses at Walsall Manor Hospital that something wasn’t right and that it felt like her baby was not moving.
in July 2021 hospital staff carried out several scans to monitor the heart-rate and falsely assured the mum-to-be from Walsall, West Midlands that everything was fine.
A mere 20 hours later, Zoe’s unborn child Lily-Ann was found to have died in the womb.
“I never thought this would happen to me," Zoe said,
"I had so many hopes and dreams for the future and here I was leaving hospital alone without my baby girl," she added.
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Zoe was induced, but after complications, a natural delivery had to be abandoned.
Lily-Ann was delivered by C-section during which Zoe lost nearly four pints of blood.
A report has since found there had been "multiple successive misinterpretations of warning signs" and the baby should have been delivered by C-section shortly after Zoe arrived at hospital.
Mum-of-one,Zoe, who has a son, Joshua, aged 10, has now spoken of her tragic experience during Baby Loss Awareness Week.
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According to Zoe, her pregnancy ran smoothly for the most part.
She had decided to had a C-section due to the size of the baby.
During a visit to the hospital on the 19 July the mum-to-be noticed her baby's movements had slowed down.
"I could still feel her and she was still responding to me but I thought perhaps she was ready to come out as I was getting so close to the end of my pregnancy," she explained.
Concerned for her baby, Zoe asked doctors if her C-section could be brought forward.
However, medics refused and told her she would have to wait until her scheduled date on the 22 July.
The same evening Lily-Ann’s movements had slowed more.
"By this point I was genuinely concerned because it felt like nothing was happening," she said.
Later that night, Zoe was told doctors couldn't find a heartbeat and to "prepare for the worst".
"I couldn’t speak – I was so devastated and went into shock," she said
"Waiting for the scan to confirm Lily-Ann had died was agony," she explained.
Lily-Ann was confirmed dead in the womb the following morning.
Zoe said the birth was " traumatic" both "physically and emotionally".
"I don’t think I’ll ever get over the pain of losing Lily-Ann and only wish she was at home with me and her brother growing and developing," she added.
“However, by speaking out I just hope that improvements in care can be made and other parents don’t have to go through what I have," she explained.
Following Lily-Ann’s death last July, Zoe instructed medical negligence lawyers to investigate her case.
It comes after a serious incident investigation report by Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, concluded the "root cause" of the incident was as a result of "multiple successive misinterpretations" of warning signs and alerts' in reading scans of Lily’s heartrate.
The report found that the results of an initial heartrate scan when Zoe attended hospital showed signs Lily-Ann was in distress.
This was a "missed opportunity" by staff to identify Lily Ann’s condition which meant she should have been delivered by emergency caesarean "without further delay."
Zoe had also requested a caesarean but was encouraged to attempt to deliver Lily-Ann naturally, the investigation said.
It added that during a follow up scan an hour later it was likely only Zoe’s pulse was being recorded and the "alerts and prompts to alert midwifery staff to this had been misunderstood or not recognised."
A subsequent consultant review "was a further example of a misinterpretation leading to a false assurance that the CTG was deemed normal," the report added.
It recommended all doctors and midwives working in obstetrics 'must have a clear understanding' of how to interpret a computerised CTG.
Eleanor Giblin, the medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, representing Zoe said: “This is a truly tragic case in which worrying issues in the care Zoe and Lily-Ann received have been identified in the Hospital Trust’s own report.
“Zoe has been left devastated by the events that unfolded and Lily-Ann’s death and understandably has a number of concerns," she said.
“While nothing can ever make up for her loss we’re determined to provide her with all of the answers she deserves.
“Sadly through our work we continue to see too many families who have been left trying to pick up the pieces as a result of issues in maternity care," she added.
Eleanor said: “Every second counts when delivering babies in distress and it’s now vital that lessons are learned to prevent other families having to endure the pain Zoe is going through.
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“Patient safety should be the fundamental priority and we continue to campaign for improvements in maternity care.”
If you've experienced a still-birth and need support Sands works to support anyone affected by the death of a baby.
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