London

Romford's Queen's Hospital suspends midwives over death

  • 24 March 2011
  • From the section London

Two midwives have been suspended after the deaths of a mother and her newborn baby at a maternity unit in east London which has previously been criticised by inspectors for breaching guidelines.

Tebussum Ali, known as Sareena, died at Queen's Hospital in Romford in January.

Staff failed to spot signs of her ruptured womb and tried to resuscitate her with a disconnected oxygen mask.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust has apologised and begun an inquiry.

Ms Ali felt unwell when she went into labour, and her family told staff she was cold and in pain.

She went into cardiac arrest and had an emergency Caesarean section but died five days later, on 28 January, from a lack of oxygen to the brain.

Care level 'unacceptable'

The trust's chief executive, Averil Dongworth, said she offered her "sincere apologies and condolences" to Ms Ali's family "at this deeply distressing time".

The maternity unit was described as frequently understaffed

"A full investigation is being carried out into the events surrounding Ms Ali's death as the original cause was a very rare medical complication that has occurred at the trust only twice in 10 years.

"This equates to one in 40,000 deliveries," she said.

The care given to Ms Ali "was of an unacceptable standard" and liability "will not be disputed", Mrs Dongworth added.

Earlier this month the Care Quality Commission described the maternity unit at Queen's as frequently understaffed, with patients put at risk from broken or missing equipment.

And in February a patient said her son was delivered with the help of a stranger, owing to a lack of staff.

Mrs Dongworth said "significant changes" had been made in the past month, including recruiting 49 midwives and ensuring a senior midwife saw women as soon as they arrived.

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