Baby ill after Essex mother's two-hour wait for ambulance

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Media captionRiley Murray was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital

An eight-day-old baby is severely ill after his mother, who needed an emergency Caesarean, had to wait nearly two hours for an ambulance.

Sarah Jenkins, 22, was at the birthing centre in Braintree, Essex, when midwives recommended a Caesarean at Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, 20 minutes away.

But the ambulance for baby Riley took nearly two hours to arrive.

East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust has started an investigation.

The family fear his health problems were caused by the delay.

Riley was rushed to Broomfield Hospital and then transferred to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge where he was put on a life support system.

Ms Jenkins, from Braintree, believes that if the ambulance had arrived earlier, her son would not be facing such serious health problems.

Image caption Sarah Jenkins had now been able to hold her baby Riley at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge

She said: "Why did it take so long for the ambulance to arrive when the hospital was only 20 minutes drive away and they were told Riley was stressed?

She said that eight days on from his birth, the extent of the birth trauma caused to Riley was still not yet clear.

Ms Jenkins and Riley's father Jamie Murray are waiting for the results of an MRI scan to check for brain damage.

But Riley opened his eyes for the first time on Wednesday and Ms Jenkins was able to hold him.

She told BBC Look East how the events on the night of his birth had unfolded after arriving at the birthing centre, St Michael's, at about 18:00 GMT.

"My waters broke soon after my arrival and after a while it became obvious that the baby was stressed as his heartbeat was fluctuating quite drastically.

"This was when they made the decision to call an ambulance for an emergency caesarean section at Broomfield Hospital.

"The ambulance was called just after 8pm. They made a follow-up call at 8.20 to see where the ambulance was.

'Full inquiry'

"I was fully dilated and the ambulance still hadn't arrived so the decision was made to deliver the baby at St Michael's because I wouldn't have been able to wait until I got to Broomfield.

"The ambulance finally arrived at 9.45. The ambulance team told us that the reason for the wait was because they had to come from Norwich.

"It was too late to move me to Broomfield by then and my baby was born just after 10pm."

Ms Jenkins' mother, Christina, said the ambulance delay led to Riley being delivered naturally as there was no other option but he was "in acute distress".

"We believe this delay and the subsequent manual birth as a result of it had a direct impact on Riley's current condition, which is critical," she said.

Dr Pamela Chrispin, medical director for the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said the vehicle involved did not have to come from Norwich, but she said their "thoughts are with the family at this time and we launched a full internal investigation last week".

She added: "Due to the seriousness of the nature of this incident we have appointed an external independent reviewer.

"The investigation will take the form of a root cause analysis to pinpoint where all the issues lie and to this end we will be working closely with Broomfield Maternity Services to identify every factor involved across the services."

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