A MUM has said her new born baby was “left to die” after being born at 21 weeks because midwives couldn’t help.
Heartbroken Bethany Lamming gave birth to “perfect” baby Jensen but despite being able to breath for himself and cry but she was told nothing could be done to save him.
Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said it adheres to national guidance issued by the British Association of Perinatal Medicine which advises it is “not appropriate” to attempt to resuscitate babies born before 22 weeks.
Survival for babies born before that time is not considered possible because the lungs are usually not developed enough.
But Bethany, 21, said watching her son die in her arms, while she pleaded for help for him, will haunt her forever.
“As soon as he was born the first thing the midwife said to me was ‘just remember, because he’s before 24 weeks, we can’t do anything’,” said Bethany, from Hornsea, Lincolnshire.
“When I gave birth and he cried straight away the second midwife said ‘I don’t know what to do’, and that now repeats in my head. It was not just traumatic for us, but for the midwives also I think.
“But he was crying and breathing. His eyes were still fused shut, but other than that he was a normal baby with five fingers on each hand, ten toes, he was perfect.
“He had eyelashes and eyebrows, proper facial features, he had black hair, and was responsive.
“He was really tall, length wise he was the size of a 24 week plus baby.”
The bereavement suite on the maternity ward being in use when she gave birth in November 2020.
So her and partner Marcus Ford stayed on a labour ward where they could hear other babies crying as they said their final goodbyes to Jensen.
“The hardest thing was when he started to struggle for breath, he did take his last breaths in my arms,” she said.
The couple’s distress was prolonged when midwives failed to record Jensen as a “live” birth and neonatal death, and instead recorded him as a stillbirth, something which was later picked up by the coroner and almost delayed his funeral.
This failure was highlighted in the SI investigation, as was the midwives’ failure to properly inform the couple of the expected outcome for Jensen when he was born.
Ms Lamming said the report, which was published this week gives her no closure and still leaves her with many unanswered questions.
“I think I could accept a lot more if he had not breathed and cried, surely any baby showing signs of life deserves a chance, that’s all I think.
“It shouldn’t have been the hospital’s choice to decide whether he deserves that chance to live. It should have been ours.
“I have since been told that even if he did survive there was only a 2 per cent chance he wouldn’t be handicapped but that’s not their choice, I’d rather have given him the chance then him being treated like he wasn’t even a person.”
Ms Lamming says she would like to campaign for policies to be changed, and has now set up a petition to save the lives of babies born before 22 weeks.
A spokeswoman for Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust says: “The circumstances surrounding the loss of baby Jensen are incredibly sad and we would like to offer our sincere condolences to Ms Lamming and her family.
“The trust has completed a Serious Incident (SI) investigation and has recently met with Ms Lamming to share and explain the findings.
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“The investigation found that while certain aspects of communication between staff and the family could have been more effective, they did not lead to any adverse clinical impact and sadly the outcome for baby Jensen would still have been the same
“In response to the report findings, we have committed to a number of actions to improve communication and minimise the likelihood of the issues seen in this case being repeated.”
The trust says the actions include a review of procedures in respect of extremely premature babies, more specific training for staff and the development of information resources for families of babies born earlier than 27 weeks’ gestation.