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Baby's death blamed 'neglect' by medical staff

Laura Monks
Image caption Peter Winrow and Laura Monks said their bid to get an inquest was "long and harrowing"

A "lack of urgency" and "neglect" by medical staff contributed to the death of a baby, a coroner has ruled.

The parents of Rueben Winrow Monks were told their son was stillborn when he was delivered at Royal Albert Edward Infirmary in Wigan in November 2011.

An inquest at Bolton Coroners' Court heard the child could have lived if he had been delivered sooner.

Coroner John Pollard said "delays significantly reduced his [Rueben's] chances of survival".

The court heard that Reuben lived for an hour and had a heartbeat - although he never breathed.

His parents Laura Monks, 33, and Peter Winrow, 37, of Aspull, Wigan, wept and embraced as the coroner delivered a narrative verdict.

'Failures and omissions'

Mr Pollard said "there was neglect by those caring for Laura and Reuben" and "a lack of urgency and a failure to recognise the need to deliver Reuben as soon as possible".

There were also "very clear failures and omissions by medical staff", the coroner ruled.

The couple's solicitors, Leigh Day, said: "Rueben's death was initially said to be a stillbirth and his parents were told that a post mortem was not required."

Mr Pollard raised concerns about "midwives having the power to sign stillborn death certificates, rather than a doctor".

He intends to write to the Health Secretary about the matter.

'Long and harrowing fight'

After the inquest, Mr Winrow said: "Every door seemed to be locked and we had to kick them down for Rueben.

"This has been a long and harrowing fight but we are pleased that we have finally had recognition that or son Rueben did live."

The couple have called for a change in the law to allow coroners to investigate stillbirths.

In a statement, Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust offered its "unreserved apologies" to Ms Monks and Mr Winrow.

It said: "This treatment fell below the standard expected and that as a trust we strive to achieve."

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