Shropshire Star

Baby died in hospital after heart rate monitoring not 'properly or competently' done, coroner told

A newborn baby died at a Shropshire hospital less than 12 hours after being born because heart rate monitoring during delivery had "not properly or competently" been performed, an inquest has heard.

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Poppy Russell died at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford in 2021

Poppy Mary Isabella Russell died at the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) in Telford on April 11, 2021, an inquest into the newborn's death at Shrewsbury's Shirehall heard on Monday.

Shropshire coroner, John Ellery, said the infant had died 11 hours and 50 minutes after being delivered at the Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust (SaTH) hospital, and that Poppy, whose parents are from Rodington, died due to "complications" at 5.55pm.

At a previous pre-inquest hearing, the coroner had said the Crown Prosecution Service had said the circumstances surrounding Poppy's death “had not met the threshold for a criminal prosecution” but there had been an investigation by the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB)

On Monday the inquest heard from independent obstetrician Patrick Forbes, who said that "there was a gulf between the parent's version of events and those recorded in the notes by doctors and midwives".

Mr Forbes told the coroner that Poppy's parents, Kathryn and Neil Russell, claimed they were not consulted about a CTG (cardiotocography) which measures a baby's heart rate, but according to SaTH, the parents were offered the treatment and had declined it.

The obstetrician said the progress of Poppy's delivery was, however, conducted according to NICE (National Institute for Health Care Professionals) guidelines by using Intermittent Auscultation (IA), where the foetal heart rate is listened to, and this should have picked up any abnormality.

He said Poppy had suffered hypoxic-ischemic (HI) damage, where the brain doesn't receive enough oxygen or blood flow and that the likely cause of this was "cord occlusion" - the compression and blocking of the umbilical cord.

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