Cambridgeshire

Addenbrooke's Hospital admits brain-damaged baby could have survived

Alfie Field
Image caption Alfie Field was left with brain damage and later died after doctors failed to spot problems with his heart rate

A newborn baby with severe brain damage would not have died had doctors spotted his heart rate problems during labour, a coroner has ruled.

Kym and Mark Field's son Alfie was taken to intensive care immediately after delivery at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge last December.

The inquest in Huntingdon heard opportunities to deliver him sooner were missed during a two-hour window.

Alfie's parents said his loss was "heartbreaking".

"Words cannot describe how devastated we are by Alfie's death. It's like a nightmare, but you never wake up," they said.

Mr Field said knowing his son could have lived "was by far the hardest outcome".

"It just put me into such a bad place on that day, to realise it wasn't genetics... knowing he was perfect in every way up until about two hours before he was born," he said.

Image caption Kym and Mark Field were not initially told the reasons for their son's brain damage

Of the staff at Addenbrooke's, Mrs Field said: "You trust them the minute you walk through the door, with your life and your baby's life, and that everything will be ok."

The couple only realised mistakes had been made when they requested copies of Mrs Field's and Alfie's health records a few weeks after his birth.

The hospital later admitted there was a breach of duty in so far as the CTG trace (fetal heart rate) was misinterpreted which led to a delay in Alfie's delivery.

"He was perfect - we got 36 hours with him and you have to be grateful for what you do have," Mrs Field said.

A spokesman for the hospital said it expressed "deep regret" to Alfie's family and apologised for the treatment during labour.

"We take this matter very seriously, and a thorough investigation has been carried out to ensure lessons are learned and changes of practice have been made," he said.

Image caption The couple said learning of the way Alfie died was "the worst possible outcome"

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