Baby Lewis died in his mother’s arms shortly after he was born with severe brain damage due to his mother’s undiagnosed illness during the later stage of her pregnancy.
24 year-old customer service assistance Vicki White was checked by midwives last May, after vomiting, reassured that everything was fine and sent home.
However, later that day she was in so much pain that her mother telephoned the ward in desperation but was told that Vicki should remain at home. No-one knew however, that Vicki was bleeding heavily. Her anguished family telephoned an ambulance and Vicki was rushed back to Birmingham City Hospital, where she ended up in the Serenity Birthing Unit.
Tests showed that the baby’s heart rate was dropping dangerous low and little Lewis Booton-White was born not breathing, revived and quickly put on life support. Doctors warned Vicki that if Lewis managed to survive, he would have sustained severe brain damage from a lack of oxygen.
Vicki had Lewis baptised and then held him in her arms as the life support was switched off and he died in her arms Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospital Trust has denied that any alleged failures by staff contributed to his death.
An inquest into Lewis’s death was told that Lewis had been a small baby and that his pregnancy had been sustained by a small placenta, which previous scans had shown was developing within normal parameters. A legal team acting for Ms White at the hearing claimed that Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospital Trust carried out a serious incident report that had “highlighted some staff failures” which allegedly included poor record-keeping by the midwife team and unclear instructions about when a pregnant mother should come back to the unit.
Recording a narrative verdict Coroner Louise Hunt said: “Lewis died from acute hypoxia which occurred during labour because he had a small placenta.”
A spokeswoman for Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospital Trust said there had been an investigation and: “Through this investigation we found that whilst there were some areas that could have been improved, there were no failings that could have caused or contributed to baby Lewis’s death. We accept the Coroner’s finding that baby Lewis died of acute hypoxia which occurred during labour because of an insufficient placenta.”
Following the inquest, Victoria Blankstone, from Irwin Mitchell lawyers, who was representing Ms White at the inquest said: “Vicki has been left devastated by the death of her baby boy and for the last 15 months has struggled to come to terms with her loss. This is a very difficult time for the family and the inquest has gone some way in providing answers to the questions they had about why Lewis died.”