Parents provided with answers on newborn baby’s death
A previously adjourned Inquest into a baby's tragic death shortly after her birth at Southend University Hospital in 2012 finished at Chelmsford Coroner's Court today. The inquest had eventually opened in September but was adjourned to allow further evidence to be gathered.
Ellie-Mai Flowers’ parents were expecting to return to their Rochford home with a healthy newborn baby but had their dreams shattered by a series of events that ended in confirmation of their child’s death just two hours after she entered the world.
The family’s solicitor, Madeline Seibert, commenting on the Coroner’s conclusion stated:
“The Coroner confirmed that a fall in the baby’s heart rate was missed by Southend hospital staff although she could not say whether that would have changed the tragic outcome. The family feels that there were missed opportunities to delivery Ellie-Mai earlier which they believe would have given her a much better chance of survival. They are considering legal action”.
Emily Cox, Ellie-Mai’s mother, commented:
“We have waited two and a half years to find out how our baby girl died. We were so excited when we found out we were having a baby girl and words cannot describe how amazing it felt. Having a child and our own little family would have made our lives complete. We put all our trust in Southend Hospital staff, we feel let down by the hospital and disappointed.
“It is devastating to know that Ellie-Mai would have survived if she had been born just one day earlier. My labour was not progressing despite an induction and there were concerns about Ellie-Mai’s heart rate on the CTG Traces. No one informed me that there were any problems; no one explained anything to us. The labour ward was very busy and short staffed.
“We are glad that changes have now been made at the hospital that should improve staffing levels and ensure that women in labour have a dedicated midwife rather than having to share with another patient. However, these changes are too late for our beautiful baby daughter, Ellie-Mai.
“Our lives have been devastated by Ellie-Mai’s death and we have not been able to put her to rest throughout this long and daunting Inquest process. We needed answers as to why our innocent baby died and how can this be prevented in the future so that no one else has to go through what we have. We would encourage anyone in our situation to contact the leading patient safety and justice charity AvMA (Action against Medical Accidents). AvMA has been a rock to us and supported us through the Inquest proceedings.”
AvMA in medical accidents
Over 30 years AvMA has helped more than 100,000 families devastated by a medical accident with expert legal advice and support from its staff and volunteer team. Most are too traumatised to deal with the complex issues of a medical accident and rely on AvMA’s help to find out what happened and how to put it right. AvMA’s help is free and gives families the means to provide for their future and sustain a reasonable quality of life post trauma.
AvMA also works to ensure patient safety for all. We identify poor medical practice and challenge compliancy, championing the need for better care and support for families coping with acute medical conditions and those too vulnerable to protect themselves.
Lisa O’Dwyer, Director of Medico-Legal Services at AvMA said:
“No amount of investigation will ever compensate for the loss of a loved one but our inquest service exists to give families a voice where they might otherwise have none. We hope that lessons can be learned from Ellie-Mai’s sad death so that perhaps other families will not suffer as Ellie-Mai’s have done.”