Essex mother left with questions after heart-breaking loss of nine month old son
- Credit: SOPHIE PAYNE
A grieving mother from Essex has spoken of the dangers of breech births following the death of her son.
A grieving mother from Essex has spoken of the dangers of breech births and called for lessons to be learned following the death of her baby boy.
Henry Payne-Smith was delivered in the breech position, meaning he was not in the head-down position normal during labour. It is said that this caused complications leading to his death.
Henry was born on July 5, 2017, at the midwife-led Clacton Maternity Unit, following mother Sophie Payne’s wish to deliver him by water birth.
Solicitors say that Chelmsford Coroner’s Court heard that Henry’s breech position was highlighted in two previous scans during his mother’s pregnancy and that the maternity unit was not equipped to deal with breech deliveries.
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They say the inquest also heard a midwife was unaware of the scan results as they were not filed on the same system as other medical records.
It is said that Henry was starved of oxygen during what proved a “very difficult birth” and an ambulance had to be called to transfer him to the nearest hospital, 40 minutes away.
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Henry had to be resuscitated and underwent emergency treatment. He suffered significant brain damage and was diagnosed with cerebal palsy.
He later died on May 1, 2018, as a result of his brain injury.
The inquest concluded that Henry died of natural causes after an “undiagnosed breech in advanced labour” and “difficult breech delivery”.
Mother Sophie said: “The nine months I had with him were the happiest of my life despite all the hurdles and challenges Henry faced.
“While I know nothing will bring him back I was determined to gain answers for my little boy so hopefully other families do not have to experience the pain that I have.”
She also claimed that the suitability of a water birth was never discussed, and she would not have chosen the birthing unit had she known the unit was unequipped to deal with a breech birth.
Dr Angela Tillett, medical director for East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We wish to offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to Henry’s family at this very difficult time.
“The coroner heard evidence from the midwives involved and also from an independent medical expert, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Malcolm Griffiths, who said that the circumstances were tragic but unavoidable.”
“As with any tragic event where a life is lost we will review the coroner’s findings in detail and always strive to improve the quality of the care we provide to our patients and their families.”