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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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‘We all held her as she died’ - Dalton mum tells inquest of baby death

A FIRST-TIME mum has told how she cradled her dying baby, just hours after she was born.

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TRAGEDY: Parents Kelly Hine and Carl Bower at Barrow Town Hall for the inquest into the death of their daughter Amelia Jade Bower

A three-day inquest into the death of Amelia Jade Bower, who died at Furness General Hospital on April 3 last year, started at Barrow Town Hall yesterday.

Amelia died of meconium aspiration, which happens when a newborn breathes meconium into the lungs.

Meconium is the early faeces passed by a newborn soon after birth, but sometimes babies pass it while still inside the uterus – usually when under stress because their supply of blood and oxygen decreases.

Yesterday’s inquest heard how Amelia’s mum, Kelly Hine, 21, was admitted to FGH on April 2.

A statement from Miss Hine, of Dalton, was read by her family’s barrister, Mr Jason Wells.

In it, she described how her contractions started at 3am, and she phoned the hospital.

Having been advised to stay at home as long as possible, she went to FGH around 1pm.

She said: “I went to the labour ward because I couldn’t deal with the pain.

“I was sent home with six small codeine tablets.”

Miss Hine visited FGH again at 6.30pm, and said she was sent home again, although this was disputed by the midwife, Ayshea Kitchin, who also gave evidence yesterday.

Ms Kitchin claimed Miss Hine was given a choice whether to be admitted, and decided to go home.

Miss Hine was admitted on what she said was her third attendance at around 9.30pm.

She claimed that, between then and 10.10pm, she spent little time with a midwife.

In her statement, Miss Hine said her partner, 21-year-old Carl Bower, was left holding a monitor to record their baby’s heart rate.

Her waters broke at 10.10pm and non-clinical support worker, Caroline Ellis, came to help her clean up, before contacting a midwife.

Miss Hine’s statement described how the midwife called a doctor, and blood samples were taken from the baby’s head.

Miss Hine said: “The people looking after us didn’t talk to me.

“I had no idea what was going on, and I was scared. I had a feeling there was a problem, I just knew.”

Miss Hine was given an emergency caesarean and Amelia was born at 12.15am.

Waking later that morning, Miss Hine was told her baby needed to go to hospital in Preston. She said a team from Preston arrived at about 7.30pm.

She said: “They came to tell us to expect the worst.

“He was the first person to properly explain what was happening.”

Miss Hine described how her family later rushed to the Special Care Baby Unit having been told staff were trying to resuscitate Amelia.

She said: “They kept asking me if they could turn the machine off because it was hurting her. They turned if off and we all held her as she died.”

Following the statement, Miss Hine answered questions from South and East Cumbria Coroner Ian Smith, and Mr Philip Parry, counsel for the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation trust.

Mr Parry then read a statement from the trust.

He said: “I would like to offer the family our unreserved apology for the standard of paediatric treatment Amelia received.

“Our hearts go out to them, as we know how difficult the past year has been.

“We have invited the family to meet us following this inquest, to answer any further questions they may have, and when, and only when, they are ready, we hope this is something they feel able to do.”

The inquest then heard from Sally Baskett, the midwife who saw Miss Hine on her first visit, and from Ms Kitchin. Both said they had done all the relevant checks on Miss Hine and her unborn child, despite Miss Hine claiming she could not remember them doing so.

Sister Heather McLeese, the midwife who looked after Miss Hine when she was admitted, said after admitting her, she decided to use cardiotocography (CTG) to monitor the baby’s heart rate and Miss Hine’s contractions.

She said she left the room for around 15 minutes to see to another labour, leaving Mr Bower holding the monitor.

She said 10 to 15 minutes was needed for a proper reading, and it was routine for families to be involved in births in this way.

Questioning Ms McLeese, Mr Wells pointed out the CTG trace had a large gap in it, where the monitor had not been in contact properly.

He repeatedly asked her if the gap in the trace could have shown a problem with Amelia. She admitted it was possible.

Ms McLeese said she was on her way back to Miss Hine when she met nurse Ellis, who had come to find her after Miss Hine’s waters broke.

This was reiterated in Ms Ellis’s evidence, who said she had noticed the staining of the waters and had gone to alert Ms McLeese because she knew this was problematic.

On seeing the amount of meconium present in the broken waters, Ms McLeese went to find a registrar who, having carried out more checks, decided to perform an emergency C-section.

Ms McLeese said when Amelia was born, the cord was wrapped around her ankle, which would have caused problems with her blood flow.

She took her straight to a resuscitaire, where she was worked on by paediatric specialist registrar, Doctor Sarrah El-Munshid.

The inquest continues today.

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