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Case Study

Coroner lists series of failings in tragic baby death at West Herts hospital

Christina Gardiner represented three families who tragically lost their babies under the care of West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

Christina represented the parents of Felicity Verallo-Robbins who survived less than seven hours after staff at Watford General Hospital missed warnings that her mother’s pregnancy was in danger.

Along with the internal investigation into Felicity’s death, an independent review of perinatal care at West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Watford General, was also commissioned because of concerns over four baby deaths during a twelve month period, including Felicity’s. Patient safety and serious incidents involving CTG monitoring were specifically identified.

At the inquest, the coroner listed countless missed opportunities to save the baby during her mother’s labour and following her birth. Most of these centered on the failure to act on pathological CTGs (recordings of the baby’s heart rate) that clearly indicated that the baby was in distress. These were not acted upon quickly enough by doctors and midwives caring for Felicity and her mother. An emergency C-section should have been performed, but  delays and indecision meant preventing this from happening. There were also failings in respect of Felicity’s care following her delivery. Intubation was delayed and an urgently needed blood transfusion was not provided.

The Coroner found that there were multiple failings in care which led to the outcome.

Fieldfisher successfully settled a subsequent civil claim against West Hertforshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

Ms Verallo said ‘I don’t see how I will ever get over the pain. There is very little comfort in knowing that had staff at the hospital done their jobs better, our beautiful girl would likely have survived’.

Christina is representing two other families who sadly experienced intrauterine deaths under the care of the same Trust.

Contact us

For further information about birth injury claims and inquests, please call Christina Gardiner on 020 7861 4954 or email christina.gardiner@fieldfisher.com.

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