Rossendale Free Press
Parents slam doctors over baby’s death
Medics accused over ’lack of treatment’
THE heartbroken parents of a baby who died just two weeks after being born have hit out at doctors.
Dottie Eloise Adamson, from Haslingden, suffered a major collapse nine days after being born at Burnley General Teaching Hospital on November 30, 2018,but wasn’t transferred to a specialist hospital in Manchester for three days because no beds were available.
During an inquest which started on Wednesday at Accrington Town Hall, Dottie’s parents, Rebecca Curwen and Chris Adamson, accused doctors at Burnley of failing to act despite their little girl “getting worse and worse every minute”.
Mr Adamson said: “There were so many periods of us being told ‘we’ll just wait’.
The inquest continues.
THE parents of a baby who died just two weeks after being born were ‘told their child’s life comes down to money’, an inquest heard.
Dottie Eloise Adamson, from Haslingden, suffered a major collapse nine days after being born at Burnley General Teaching Hospital on November 30, 2018 but she wasn’t transferred to a specialist hospital in Manchester for three days because no beds were available.
During an inquest which started on Wednesday at Accrington Town Hall Dottie’s parents, Rebecca Curwen and Chris Adamson, accused doctors at Burnley of failing to act despite their little girl “getting worse and worse every minute”.
The inquest, which is expected to last two days, heard Dottie’s collapse had been due to a rare heart defect but this was only discovered by a post mortem carried out after she died on December 15.
Doctors at Burnley had spotted a gap in Dottie’s diaphragm from an x-ray but decided against carrying out a CT scan because they believed this should be carried out at St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester where Dottie was due to be transferred.
Dottie’s parents, who have four other children, questioned why their daughter “wasn’t receiving any treatment” and why no CT scan was carried out while they waited for a bed to become available at Manchester.
Mr Adamson, of Rising Bridge Road, said: “Why was she in hospital but not getting any treatment?
“There were so many periods of us being told ‘we’ll just wait’. We could see as parents she wasn’t stable.
“We were there every second of every minute of every day and we could see her getting worse.
“For us as parents we felt she was getting worse and worse and nothing was being done.
“There was no treatment plan for all these things that killed her.
“They had washed their hands of her thinking Manchester would take over.”
“She became really really distressed and it was obvious she was struggling so why didn’t she have a CT scan at Burnley?” Miss Curwen asked Savithiri Sivashankar, a doctor who treated Dottie at Burnley.
“You were really hoping for an earlier transfer,” the coroner said to Dr Sivashankar.
“Yes,” the doctor replied.
“The CT scan was also better off being done at Manchester because if we did it at Burnley then we would have to send the images off to them and they might say we will repeat the CT scan anyway.”
After being told, on December 6, that St Mary’s would take Dottie, it was a further three days until she was transferred after her parents “begged and pleaded” with Burnley to escalate the situation and inform Manchester of her deterioration.
By this point she had been intubated and when she finally got to Manchester Dottie was “the sickest baby on the unit”.
The doctors at Burnley had been “lulled into a false sense of security” in thinking a bed at Manchester would become available imminently, Area Coroner Richard Taylor said. However, the inquest heard that doctors at Burnley had used the incorrect pathway to refer Dottie to St Mary’s.
Dottie’s mum Rebecca said she was told by Burnley medics that “your child’s life basically comes down to money” because no beds were available.
“We were repeatedly told ‘it’s out of our control and it’s all to do with funding for the NHS’,” she said.
“It’s heart-breaking to be told your child’s life comes down to money.”
The coroner said he believed Dottie’s parents “felt they weren’t listened to”.
“As soon as she was born and you held her you knew something wasn’t right,” he said to Dottie’s mum.
“It should be a case of listening to those who know her best.”
“Nobody was listening to us,” Dottie’s dad Chris replied.
During the inquest Dottie’s parents also said they were not kept informed about their daughter’s care and treatment during her time at Burnley and they only found out some details by requesting her medical records after she died.
“As a family we hadn’t been told she had pulmonary hypertension,” Dottie’s mum said.
The inquest heard that East Lancashire Hospitals Trust (ELHT), which runs Burnley General Hospital, has implemented a number of improvements after issues were identified in Dottie’s care.
A barrister representing ELHT said to Dr Sivashankar: “Is it fair to say that the points raised by Dottie’s parents are valid concerns and you will take them back and share with the team?”
“Yes,” the doctor replied.
“That has been reviewed. There was also a detailed review at Manchester and the way we do things now is more streamlined.”
The inquest heard that the abnormality in Dottie’s heart meant that one of the pulmonary arteries, which supplies blood to the lungs, came from the aorta rather than the right ventricle. This resulted in a much higher blood pressure in the lungs than normal which led to Dottie developing pulmonary hypertension.
Dr Melanie Newbold, a consultant paediatric and perinatal pathologist, carried out a post mortem examination on Dottie after she died and concluded that the cause of Dottie’s death was brain damage caused by cardiac arrest which was likely caused by pulmonary hypertension.
“It is likely the arrest was due to factors of the pulmonary hypertension; high blood pressure in the blood vessels within the lung, which is associated with the abnormal origin of the pulmonary artery because the pressure there is much higher than usual in the arteries that serve the lungs,” she said. ●●The inquest continues.