‘No-one else should suffer like us’

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The parents of a newborn baby boy who died after his delivery was delayed for 61 hours in a hospital have said no-one else should go through what they did.

Sarah Dawson, 34, from Morley, Leeds, and her partner, Philip Schofield, 33, were speaking after a coroner recorded a narrative verdict at the inquest into the death of their little boy, Oliver.

The couple’s lawyers said they wanted “urgent action” after Assistant Deputy Bradford coroner Paul Marks criticised aspects of Oliver’s care at Dewsbury and District Hospital, saying the delay in inducing labour materially contributed to Oliver’s death.

Ms Dawson said: “Philip and I have been completely devastated by the loss of our son and it is horrible to know that his death was due to a simple lack of care being available to us when we needed it.

“We hope the Trust will acknowledge that they made mistakes in our case and can apologise for the loss they have caused us.

“I find it hard to get through each day knowing that Oliver should still be with us.

“Changes need to be made to prevent this from happening in the future. No-one else should have to go through what Philip and I have.”

Her lawyers said the hearing heard how Ms Dawson was taken into hospital after her waters broke on July 12, 2010.

Oliver was born by caesarean section 61 hours later.

He died shortly after due to an infection he had developed during the wait.

The inquest heard how a series of factors contributed to the mammoth delay. This began with a policy of first leaving mothers for 24 hours to see if natural birth will happen. This was followed by another wait due to a policy of not allowing assisted births at night. Then further problems with staff and equipment not being available.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell said the coroner is planning to write to the Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust to outline his concern that important changes have not been made.

The legal team said tonight they wanted the NHS to act on the findings from the inquest and investigation to ensure important lessons are learned from the errors in this case.

Suzanne Munroe, from Irwin Mitchell, said: “This is an extremely sad case which could and should have been prevented. The delays in delivering Oliver are inexcusable and we are extremely concerned that the hospital has still not changed its procedures despite the fact that there is clearly an issue.

“As it stands, if another expectant mother was to attend Dewsbury and District Hospital in the evening they would still be sent away, and this could lead to exactly the same scenario developing again.

“Urgent action must be taken to change the policy so that patients are able to be induced in the evening or at the latest the following morning.

“Nothing can ever be done to turn back the clock, but Oliver’s family want to know changes are being made to prevent this kind of tragedy in the future.”

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