Rossendale Free Press

Parents of tragic Dottie ‘glad our voices have been heard’

Inquest is told how hospital delay led to death

- AMY FENTON @Accrington­News

THE parents of a newborn baby girl who died after delays in transferri­ng her to a specialist hospital led to a rare heart defect not being detected have said they are pleased that lessons have been learned.

As soon as Dottie Eloise Adamson, from Rising Bridge, was born at Burnley General Teaching Hospital on November 30, 2018, mum Rebecca Curwen instantly knew something wasn’t right. Her little girl wasn’t breathing properly and just 10 days after her birth Dottie suffered a “major collapse”.

In the days prior to the collapse Dottie’s mum, and dad Chris Adamson, had been pleading with doctors to hasten her transfer to St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester but by the time the urgency of her condition was realised it was too late and she died in Manchester on December 15.

An inquest, which concluded last week, heard heartbreak­ing evidence from Dottie’s parents who questioned why they hadn’t been listened to by doctors at Burnley when they had repeatedly said she was getting worse.

Nurses had bluntly told the couple that no beds were available at Manchester

because of a lack of NHS funding.

Doctors in Burnley had decided against carrying out a CT scan because they believed this should be carried out at St Mary’s.

A CT scan would have revealed a rare heart defect which caused Dottie’s death on December 15, the inquest heard, but her transfer was delayed for three days and doctors have since apologised for issues in her care, and admitting “oversights”.

Returning a narrative conclusion Area Coroner Richard Taylor said: “Dottie Eloise Adamson died at St Mary’s Hospital on December 15, 2018 from a brain injury following a collapsed lung on December 9, 2018 which was compromise­d by a lung malformati­on and an eventratio­n of the diaphragm.”

Speaking after the

inquest Rebecca and Chris, also parents to Maisie, Poppy, Nellie and Daisie, revealed how they have channelled their grief into helping other parents and poorly children.

Rebecca made candles, in Dottie’s name, which raised more than £1,000 for life-saving equipment.

At Christmas she also put together 53 hampers for families spending the festive period in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

The family also installed a story corner at Rising Bridge Park and are currently almost halfway towards their £5,000 target to dedicate a room at Ronald McDonald House, which provides accommodat­ion for families of children in hospital.

“Dottie is a very much loved little girl who should have come home to be with her family but very sadly didn’t,” Rebecca said.

“As a family we miss her incredibly and we still suffer with the grief from her tragic death. We will continue to include Dottie in everything we do as a family. Dottie is at the centre of everything we do, we now see the world through very different eyes and we appreciate more than ever the simple things that life brings.

“If we can take anything away from the inquest it is that our voices were heard, apologies were made and lessons have been learnt. It doesn’t change anything for us as a family, but we hope it will go on to make a difference for future families.”

The inquest heard how

Chris had been calling St Mary’s daily to plead with them to find a bed for his youngest daughter.

Rebecca told the inquest how her motherin-law had resorted to directly contacting one of the directors at ELHT and had “threatened to go to the media”.

“Ten minutes later there was a bed available [at St Mary’s],” she said.

“For us it seemed like it was only because she contacted the director.”

Consultant neonatolog­ist Dr Ian Dady, who is based at St Mary’s and manages the neonatal transport unit across the North West, apologised to Dottie’s parents after hearing of the desperatio­n they felt in trying to escalate their daughter’s transfer.

“I am very sorry that you had to go to those extremes to organise a bed; it shouldn’t be down to families to do that,” he said.

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust carried out a review, jointly with St Mary’s, following Dottie’s death and has since implemente­d a number of changes and carried out staff training.

These include ensuring staff know the correct pathway to use to refer a baby to another hospital, improving communicat­ion between doctors and families and keeping parents informed about care plans and treatment.

During the inquest Rebecca and Chris described how they “weren’t listened to” and felt they were being seen as “over-reacting parents”.

There were so many periods of us being told ‘we’ll just wait’,” Chris told the inquest.

“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.”

After the inquest Rebecca revealed she is trying to track down a “fellow mummy” who provided support to her during Dottie’s time at Burnley General.

When Rebecca was allowed to see Dottie, after she had been subjected to an intensive intubation, the new mum collapsed on the floor and the other woman, who had given birth to a boy, helped her off the floor and urged her to be strong for her little girl.

Anyone who is able to

help Rebecca find the woman, so she can thank her, can contact her via emailing our reporter at amy.fenton@reachplc. com

Chris Pearson, Chief Nurse for East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said in a statement: “I would like to offer our deepest condolence­s to Dottie’s family. To lose a baby in any circumstan­ces is extremely sad and I’m sorry that this happened.

“The trust always strives to provide safe, personal and effective care and when necessary, we act as quickly as possible to learn lessons and determine how we prevent it from happening again in the future.”

 ?? ??
 ?? ?? ●●Dottie with mum Rebecca Curwen and (right) dad Chris Adamson
●●Dottie with mum Rebecca Curwen and (right) dad Chris Adamson
 ?? ?? ●●Dottie Eloise Adamson died at just two weeks
●●Dottie Eloise Adamson died at just two weeks
 ?? ?? ●●The story corner at Rising Bridge Park
●●The story corner at Rising Bridge Park

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