They’re 100% to blame ... they killed my baby

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News - By Dawn Thomp­son

THE nurs­ery was freshly painted and the cot newly built. Her hos­pi­tal bag was packed with nap­pies and tiny sleep­suits, and she and her hus­band had picked out a name they both loved.

Through­out her rel­a­tively trou­ble-free preg­nancy, He­len Fyfe joked that her big­gest worry was whether or not she would get to the ma­ter­nity ward in good time.

Yet what should have been a time of joy ended in tragedy when, just as doc­tors were pre­par­ing to de­liver Olivia into the world, they had to break dev­as­tat­ing news – they could no longer find a heart­beat and the baby would be still­born.

For Mrs Fyfe, her im­me­di­ate agony was made even worse by the grad­ual re­al­i­sa­tion that it was not just bad luck but also a string of blun­ders that had robbed her of her child.

For er­rors by med­i­cal staff meant that Olivia died with­out any­one even try­ing to save her.

When Mrs Fyfe was ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal, she had been at­tached to a foetal heart rate mon­i­tor to check on her un­born baby’s pulse.

The fol­low­ing day a de­ci­sion was made to per­form a cae­sarean – at which point the mon­i­tor was un­hooked.

But the C-sec­tion was de­layed for seven hours and, crit­i­cally, the mon­i­tor was never re-at­tached.

As a re­sult, no­body no­ticed that Olivia’s heart had stopped beat­ing un­til sur­geons even­tu­ally pre­pared to carry out the cae­sarean – by which time it was too late. Mrs Fyfe has now won an apol­ogy and a pay­out af­ter NHS Forth Valley ad­mit­ted it was ‘prob­a­ble that Olivia would have sur­vived’ had her

treat­ment been dif­fer­ent. Five years on, cher­ished pictures of Olivia are dis­played around the fam­ily home and Mrs Fyfe makes fre­quent vis­its to her daugh­ter’s grave.

Last night Mrs Fyfe, 43, told The Scot­tish Mail on Sun­day: ‘I blame them 100 per cent for what hap­pened. They killed my baby. The frus­trat­ing thing is that they know the root causes of what went wrong.

‘The prom­ises they made, the mea­sures put in place, things they said they’d changed – it’s pure lies. It’s still hap­pen­ing.’

Mrs Fyfe’s preg­nancy was straight­for­ward un­til she felt her baby was mov­ing less. She was ad­mit­ted to Forth Valley Royal Hos­pi­tal in Lar­bert on Oc­to­ber 29, 2012.

In­stead of be­ing mon­i­tored on the labour ward, Mrs Fyfe was put in a room on an­other ward.

At 9pm next day, amid con­cerns over the baby’s heart rate, civil ser­vant Mrs Fyfe was told she would un­dergo im­me­di­ate surgery and to sum­mon her hus­band Gary, a 41-year-old labourer.

She said: ‘They took me off the heart mon­i­tor. But it wasn’t till about 4am that I was taken down and the mon­i­tor was never put back on. Olivia was alive at 9pm. It never even oc­curred to us she might die.

‘I was in theatre, I’d had the spinal and my hus­band was in his scrubs. Then the con­sul­tant said there was no heart­beat. I couldn’t be­lieve what they were say­ing.

‘We were all set. The nurs­ery had been freshly painted white, as we didn’t know if we were hav­ing a boy or a girl, and we had just finished the cot the day be­fore. We had a pram and lots of brand-new baby grows and hats.

‘Dur­ing the preg­nancy, I’d won­dered would I make it to the hos­pi­tal. Never once did I worry about the baby be­ing still­born.

‘They said surgery was an un­nec­es­sary risk and I would need to come back into hos­pi­tal and de­liver our baby nat­u­rally.

‘Gary was an­gry they wouldn’t con­tinue with the sec­tion at the time but on re­flec­tion I am glad I de­liv­ered Olivia as that gave us such a spe­cial bond.

‘Up un­til Olivia was born, I still thought they might have got it wrong as I could still feel her mov­ing.

‘Once I de­liv­ered Olivia, I asked my daugh­ter Stephanie to check in case she was still alive – daft, I know, but you want to cling on to any hope that they may have got it wrong. They said that it was a

‘The prom­ises they made, it’s pure lies’

com­mu­ni­ca­tion er­ror. The con­sul­tant had left in­struc­tions for me to get taken to theatre but I wasn’t.

‘The mid­wives came in, back and for­ward, through the night. We asked them what was hap­pen­ing. They said they were try­ing to get in touch with the con­sul­tant to find out. One re­port said that they did page her, but it was never an­swered.’

Mrs Fyfe, of Denny, Stir­ling­shire, suf­fered three sub­se­quent mis­car­riages but went on to have a son, Rocco, 23 months, and also has an older daugh­ter, Stephanie, 25.

She added: ‘You’ll never pre­vent every still­birth. But a lot of them are pre­ventable and mine cer­tainly was. It makes you an­gry.

‘I’m a com­pletely dif­fer­ent per­son. I’ve gone down to three days at my work. I’m still on an­tide­pres­sants. I’m see­ing a coun­sel­lor. I ended up be­ing treated for post-trau­matic stress.’

Mrs Fyfe called for the cur­rent still­births re­view to be widened. She said: ‘I’ve got re­grets about not tak­ing it to court – maybe the big­ger pic­ture would have come out.’

An NHS let­ter to the cou­ple said the post-mortem showed Olivia had suf­fered some brain dam­age be­cause the pla­centa was not func­tion­ing prop­erly.

The let­ter stated: ‘It is prob­a­ble that Olivia would have sur­vived had she been de­liv­ered ear­lier but it is also pos­si­ble she would have had some long-term prob­lems be­cause of the dam­age which was seen.’

NHS Forth Valley said Olivia’s death had been re­viewed, and that it had met her fam­ily ‘to share the find­ings and of­fer our apolo­gies. A num­ber of changes were also made to share learn­ing and im­prove com­mu­ni­ca­tion within the team’.

LOV­ING MEM­ORY: He­len Fyfe at Olivia’s grave­side SAD FAREWELL: Gary and He­len Fyfe spend a pre­cious mo­ment with their still­born daugh­ter Olivia, whose life might have been saved

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