Lack of staff at Royal Derby Hospital contributed to baby death
- 9 September 2013
- From the section Derby
Poor staffing levels at a Derby hospital were a contributory factor in a baby's death, a report has found.
Amy Wray's daughter Georgina was stillborn at Royal Derby Hospital in March 2012.
An investigation into Georgina's death said staffing levels on the labour ward were "below minimal levels" at the time, the labour ward was "busy" and communication between staff was "poor".
The hospital offered its condolences to the family.
'We were just left'
Mrs Wray and her husband Michael are now suing the hospital for negligence.
She was 12 days overdue when she was admitted to the hospital for an induction on 15 March last year.
However, she said the induction was delayed because of staff shortages and she was admitted to a ward overnight.
"They said, 'We are really short of staff and therefore it's not safe to induce'," said Mrs Wray.
"You can understand if it's not safe because of staffing levels but they are there to provide a service.
"The NHS gets a lot of negative press and I don't think most of the time it deserves it. But we were just left."
On 16 March, the induction process began at 06:00 BST and, shortly afterwards, Mrs Wray's waters broke.
However, during the afternoon, Mrs Wray was left by her midwife who went to attend another birth.
"At this point, the pains were getting quite severe," she said. "There was nobody there to give any care.
"At about 16:45 my husband ran out to grab anybody because I was on my hands and knees in so much pain.
"A nursing sister came in and couldn't find Georgina's heartbeat."
Georgina was then delivered by Caesarean section, but she was not breathing.
"They tried to resuscitate her but it was too little, too late," said Mrs Wray.
A hospital investigation report said better monitoring of Mrs Wray could have identified problems earlier.
It said high levels of sickness and maternity leave among staff meant there were not enough midwives on duty, while the high volume of cases meant the consultant did not do his ward round, as usual.
The report also highlighted confusion among staff as to whether Mrs Wray, who had had a difficult pregnancy, should be classed as a high or low-risk case.
Cathy Winfield, chief nurse and director of patient experience, said: "On behalf of Derby Hospitals I would like to offer our sincere condolences to Mrs Wray's family.
"A full investigation has been undertaken. However we are unable to comment any further at this stage as legal proceedings are under way."