A NEWBORN baby boy didn’t breathe for 26 minutes after he was born because “busy hospital staff didn’t follow a procedure”, an inquest heard today.
Little Sebastian Clark died at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, south London on March 12 last year, just four days after a difficult birth at Kingston Hospital in Surrey.
Justin and Alison Clark hold baby Sebastian, who suffered a serious brain injury during birth and died in his parents arms[/caption]
His parents Alison and Justin Clark from Surbiton had to make the heartbreaking decision to turn off his life support machine after he contracted an infection that doctors said he could not recover from.
On March 6, Mrs Clarke’s waters broke, and she repeatedly begged doctors and midwives for a caesarean.
But on the “busy” night, staff said it was not needed, and instead gave her a ‘sweep’, procedure that widens the cervix to encourage natural birth.
But this procedure is known to ‘activate’ naturally-occurring bacteria such as B Strep and E-Coli in the cervix and lead to infection, the inquest heard.
Nurse Jenny Coward said it was “not normal procedure to do a sweep before sending someone home”.
She admitted she should have been more concerned about the situation.
One thing had to take over the other. When I look back at what happened I was very surprised by the timing because I just didn’t realise.
Dr Chorouk Kohler-Boureq
Sebastian contracted an infection and suffered severe brain damage that left him unable to breathe, hear or see when he was born.
Mrs Clark told the inquest: “I trusted staff that everything was fine. We were always assured Sebastian was fine even when they said he might have a bit of an infection.
“I was never concerned because I was always told he was fine.”
At the time of Sebastien’s birth, maternity doctors had two emergencies at the same time and had to prioritise another mother.
The doctor involved in Sebastian’s birth was also involved in another emergency relating to chorioamnionitis, the infection Alison Clark – and subsequently Sebastian – contracted during labour.
Obstretic Consultant Andrew Poole at Kingston Hospital admitted if staff had followed correct procedures, as they had “all the information needed”, Sebastian would still be alive today.
After the birth, she said two doctors came and spoke to her and Justin, “making excuses”.
And two weeks after his death, Mrs Clark received a letter from the hospital which “apologised for letting [her] down”.
“It was anxiety provoking to receive that letter and not speak to anyone about it for many days.
“I thought it was my fault as I had an infection and needed help pushing.”
There was blood, so very much blood. That exact moment in time a ill haunt me for the rest of my life.
Mr Clarke recalls feeling “terrified” during the emergency as he did not know what was going on.
He told the inquest: “I felt terrified. I was anxiously trying to figure out what was going on because I still did not know why Alison was rushed away. I was in a state of panic trying to decide what different alarms meant.
“There was blood, so very much blood. That exact moment in time a ill haunt me for the rest of my life. I was fearful for Alison and my son’s lives.
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“I was scared. I was desperately hoping with every fibre of my being that my little boy would be alright but had been aware from previous knowledge that the human brain suffers damage at roughly ten minutes without oxygen – at this time I thought he had been without air for 26 minutes.”
Mrs Clark subsequently gave birth to healthy twin baby boys last May, the inquest heard.
The inquest heard that new guidelines have now been put in place to in relation to the risk of chorioamnionitis.
The hearing continues tomorrow.
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