NHS Forth Valley bosses apologise after young mum loses baby following botched care

Bosses at NHS Forth Valley have apologised over errors made at the flagship Larbert hospital
Bosses at NHS Forth Valley have apologised over errors made at the flagship Larbert hospital
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Health chiefs have apologised to a young mum whose baby died after a blunder by medical staff.

Bosses at NHS Forth Valley have also paid tragic Sarah Mackinlay from Falkirk £15,000 compensation for her loss.

Lessons have been learned and changes made to our procedures to prevent this happening again

NHS Forth Valley spokeswoman

The 18-year-old was admitted to Forth Valley Hospital in Larbert in June 2013 just days before she was due to have her baby.

Scans revealed the unborn child had stopped growing and a foetal heart-rate test showed “fleeting decelerations.”

Doctors decided to induce labour and the teenager was transferred to an ante-natal ward where staff closely watched the baby’s condition using a heart-rate monitor.

But later a doctor, despite noting the labour was ‘overall okay but high risk’, advised midwives to stop using the machine overnight.

That meant that from 11.20 p.m. there was no way they could be sure the baby’s heart beat remained regular.

Soon after Miss Mackinlay went outside for some fresh air - but as she made her way back inside to the ward felt extreme pain. She buzzed for help and asked to be put back on the monitor.

Two midwives tried unsuccessfully to locate the baby’s heartbeat and at 5.20 a.m. the doctor confirmed the death, thought to have been due to “umbilical cord compression.”

The infant, named Marcus by his mum, was later delivered by Caesarean section.

Following the tragedy an independent review concluded it was “likely” mistakes had cost little Marcus his life.

Now the hospital has apologised to Miss Mackinlay and ordered a change in procedures.

She said: “It was my son, my baby boy. I can’t put it into words how I felt. I didn’t believe it, not until I had to walk out of the hospital without him.

“I put my all my trust in the doctors. They said everything was fine and I could come off the monitor. Then the midwives couldn’t find a heartbeat and it was too late.”

An evaluation of Miss Mackinlay’s case was completed by NHS Lanarkshire obstetric consultant Dina McLellan.

She found the decision to stop the monitoring for a planned period of up to seven hours was “inappropriate and a deviation from standard practice”.

Dr McLellan said “reasonable practice” would have been to carry out continuous heart-rate monitoring or cardiotocography.

She said: “It is likely this would have led to appropriate identification of developing foetal compromise and timely delivery leading to a live outcome.”

After its own review NHS Forth Valley agreed the CTG should not have been stopped.

A spokeswoman said: “We appreciate this has been a very difficult and distressing experience for this family and offered them our sincere condolences and apologies for their sad loss.

“Lessons have been learned and changes made to our procedures to prevent this happening again.”