Shropshire Star

Oswestry mum tells of maternity horror that left daughter severely disabled

A mother has told how mistakes from medics as she gave birth to her daughter affected her family "in every way imaginable".

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Kirsty Dallow with her mother Jill Edwards, left and godmother Dawn Baker, right

As a drawn out labour was putting her baby in distress, Jill Edwards, from Weston Rhyn, signed forms to have a caesarean when she was giving birth to her daughter Kirsty Dallow at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.

But while she was sedated, Kirsty's birth was forced – with two failed attempts at using forceps – and as a result Kirsty was starved of oxygen and suffered a brain haemorrhage.

The error has meant Kirsty, aged 39, has spent her life wheelchair bound and severely disabled.

When Jill, from Oswestry, woke up the next morning, she was told by medics that Kirsty would probably not survive the week, and if she did, her brain injury meant she would be severely disabled.

"They said if I didn't want to take her home, there was a place for babies like Kirsty," said Jill. "I was always going to take her home."

It took more than two decades before Jill knew medics had made mistakes, and several more years before she sued and received acknowledgement from Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals Trust for mistakes made.

"I just took them at their word," she said. "It has affected us in every way imaginable. The hospital's solicitor couldn't even look at me in court."

Jill, who sued in 2007, spoke at a parliamentary committee chaired by former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt about what mothers have to go through in terms of the legal challenge.

She described the process as "absolutely horrendous". "They make you feel like you're to blame," she said. "I feel for the people who are yet to go through this. Some will never get their ending."

This week Jill, Kirsty and Kirsty's godmother Dawn Baker were at Shrewsbury Abbey, meeting other families who have been devastated by the Shropshire maternity scandal.

"You feel sorry for all those people. The reason I'm here today is that this needs to continue to be highlighted. It's quite amazing. You don't realise how many people were affected until you see them.

"You get quite mixed feelings. It's good to be here for it, but then you think about why you're here.

"In terms of closure, it's like an open wound. Sometimes it feels like it's healed, then it opens up again.

"I wanted to bring Kirsty (to Shrewsbury Abbey). Some of these parents lost their babies. My life changed beyond recognition but I'm grateful every day that I've got her.

"It's nice to see everyone here supporting each other. I didn't have that and I know a lot of the others didn't have that. When there's no-one who understands or no-one to ask for advice, it can be lonely."

There were several other families at Shrewsbury Abbey who had not been to an event relating to the scandal.

Review lead Donna Ockenden was also there to pay her respects at a ceremony, where peace roses and bouquets were laid and candles were lit.

The full review into maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals Trust (SaTH) found there were more than 200 deaths of mothers and babies that were avoidable.

Ms Ockenden described the occasion at Shrewsbury Abbey as "really moving" and "very poignant".

"We invited all the families involved in the review," she said. "We knew not everyone would want to come, but people could come if they wished to. There is ongoing support for all families involved in the review.”

At the beginning of this month, SaTH said that since the harrowing report was made public, the trust has completed 18 of 158 Ockenden Report Assurance Committee recommendations - which amounts to 10 per cent.

The trust was told it needs to make improvements in a large number of areas, including patient safety, dealing with complaints and bereavement support.

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