Inquest hears mother was given ‘falsely reassuring’ information

Picture: JON GUEGAN. (37789518)

A MOTHER whose baby died at 33 days old was given a “falsely reassuring” leaflet telling her it was safe to wait another 96 hours after her waters broke before the pregnancy might need to be induced, a medical expert has told an inquest.

And failures to monitor the baby’s heart rate meant hospital staff were less likely to detect abnormalities, another expert said.

The two UK-based experts were giving evidence on the third day of the inquest into the death of Amelia Amber Sweetpea Clyde-Smith.

Amelia was born in the Hospital in August 2018 and was flown for emergency treatment to Portsmouth, but died in Jersey the following month.

Her parents, Dominic and Ewelina Clyde-Smith, previously received an apology from senior health officials, admitting that Amelia’s death was “probably avoidable”.

On Wednesday 10 April, the inquest heard that after Mrs Clyde-Smith’s waters broke she was given a leaflet explaining that there was little risk of infection and she could wait 96 hours before the pregnancy might need to be induced.

But consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Reeba Oliver said the risk of infection began to increase earlier – and medical thinking was that a pregnancy should be induced within 24 hours.

She said: “The paper that a patient takes home with them is very important and it clearly stated that it was safe for another 96 hours.

“It was a falsely reassuring statement.

“Waiting until after the weekend was not acceptable then and is not acceptable now. That was false reassurance.”

Prof Kevin Dalton, another consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, added that guidance from the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and from other countries advised against delaying longer than 24 hours.

He said: “There’s nothing magic about 24 hours but the risk of infection slowly increases, day by day.

“Most women want to start labour naturally. But if you leave it until after 24 hours you are going against the recommendations.

“Delaying it to 72 hours, 96 hours or whatever is against all the guidelines.”

Dr Oliver also said that the baby’s heart rate had not always been monitored by cardiotography (CTG), the equipment used to monitor the foetal heartbeat during pregnancy.

She said: “You cannot make a plan for labour with a degree of loss of contact on CTG. Some effort should have been made on that.”

The inquest is being heard by coroner Bridget Dolan and is expected to conclude on Friday.

– Advertisement –
– Advertisement –