Start your claim

September 7th 2012

Birth Negligence

Mum who never got to hold her baby learns his death was preventable and caused by hospital mistakes

Chris Moore

Chris Moore

Senior Solicitor, Joint Head of Clinical Negligence

Mum who never got to hold her baby learns his death was preventable and caused by hospital mistakes

A grieving mother has learned a catalogue of hospital failures led to the death of her new born baby boy, before she’d had a chance to hold him – and without her knowing he was fighting for his life.

A grieving mother has learned a catalogue of hospital failures led to the death of her new born baby boy, before she’d had a chance to hold him – and without her knowing he was fighting for his life.

Sarah Wallace, aged 29 and from Scarborough, believes her son Harry would have survived if he had been born during the day when a consultant was on duty. Sarah, who has Harry’s name and date of birth tattooed on her arms, also says she was told staff shortages meant she wasn’t given the opportunity to hold her baby whilst he was still alive.

Sarah, mum to three other young children, said: “It’s just heart breaking that the reason I didn’t get to see Harry before he died was because lack of funding meant there was no one available to take me to the special care baby unit. It’s scandalous and I want to make sure it doesn’t happen to any other mums.

“I didn’t have the chance to will Harry to live. I couldn’t hug him while he was warm. I didn’t get to see his little toes wriggling. They even forgot to take a photo of him while he was alive. All I have is a lock of his hair and his hand and foot prints.”

An independent expert report, commissioned by Sarah’s lawyers Hudgell Solicitors into baby Harry’s death, lists a series of errors by staff at Scarborough District General Hospital.

These include failure to follow the proper respiratory support procedures; failure to transfer him urgently to a specialist unit in Leeds; failure to ventilate Harry and to help him breathe by properly putting a tube in his windpipe as his condition deteriorated.

Sarah and husband Scott, aged 32, a mechanic who restores classic cars, had been delighted to learn she was expecting a little boy. But she then endured a traumatic pregnancy. A low-lying placenta, a complication known as Placenta Previa, caused her to haemorrhage 14 times.

Sarah gave birth to Harry eight weeks early by emergency caesarean section at Scarborough District General Hospital at 10pm on September 10, 2009. Harry, who weighed 3lbs 11oz, was taken immediately to the Special Care Baby Unit.

Sarah said: “The midwife brought Harry for me and Scott to kiss him before he was whisked off. But I don’t remember much about this as I was part way through my operation.”

Scott spent a couple of hours with his son before his wife urged him to go home and get some rest. Neither he nor Sarah realised Harry was in difficulty. Throughout the night, Sarah asked to see her son but was told that because of staff shortages no-one was available to take her from her bed to baby Harry.

Sarah said: “I was kept in the dark. I didn’t know Harry was fighting for his life. I’d have crawled to him on my hands and knees if I’d known. To this day, Scott and I feel like we weren’t there when he needed us.”

It was the next morning at 7am that Scott appeared red-eyed at Sarah’s bedside and told her that Harry had died at 6.42am from breathing difficulties.

Sarah, who has an 11 year old son and two younger daughters, says her family’s tragedy at losing baby Harry was made worse by the difficulty in getting straight answers to her questions from hospital authorities. It was the week after Harry’s death that a consultant told her that the reason she wasn’t take to see Harry was that there were not enough available staff due to the hospital’s debts.

Sarah then sought legal advice from medical negligence expert Chris Moore at Hudgell Solicitors.

Chris Moore said: “The evidence clearly shows that there is a strong balance of probabilities that if Harry had been given the appropriate treatment he would have survived.

“This was a preventable tragedy compounded by the lack of communication with the parents. Mrs Wallace is traumatized by the fact she never got to hold her baby and never got to bond with him.”

Hudgell Solicitors commissioned an independent report from an appropriate expert and then submitted a letter detailing Mrs Wallace’s claim for compensation for medical negligence against Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Healthcare NHS Trust. The claim has now been settled.

Sarah has suffered depression and anxiety following Harry’s death. She tried to return to her job as a senior nursing assistant at a care home but became too distressed.

Sarah said: “I am hoping that by speaking out I’ll create awareness of placenta previa. I wasn’t fully told what the implications could be for me or my baby. I got conflicting advice from the different doctors and midwives. If I can just stop one other mum going through what I’ve suffered it’ll be worth it.

“I’d also tell people not to let hospital authorities fob them off and, if things do go wrong, to get some decent legal advice. Although I’m not sure if we’ll ever come to terms with Harry’s death, at least I know now what happened to my son. You can’t fight these battles by yourself.”

What Our Clients Say

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Anthony and his team at Hudgell…"

Anthony and his team at Hudgell solicitors are extremely professional and caring People. From the first phone conversation right through to completion i was always kept updated, if i had any concerns and contacted them, they were always happy to listen and put my mind at rest. I would highly…

Mrs lisa martinJanuary 21, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Excellent service"

Great service . Made me feel at ease . Proffesional and very quick to respond to any questions or concerns I would highly reccomend

LesleyJanuary 21, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Excellent service"

Excellent service

JensonJanuary 21, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Excellent service"

Excellent service, Alex Garven was most helpful in dealing with my claim. Many thanks for his hard work in getting a result for me,. It took quite a while but during that time I received regular progress updates and a quick response if I had any queries .

Jill ElliottJanuary 15, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Lauren Dale"

Lauren Dale was so sensitive when dealing with my mums claim and she totally understood what i really wanted from the outcome. she kept me fully informed of everything, as and when it happened. I cannot thank her enough for her help and understanding on such a sensitive case. 5…

Jane from North YorkshieJanuary 11, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Excellent Service"

Excellent, professional and friendly solicitors. It was a very simple process and they kept in constant contact to update me on any developments. Would definitely recommend.

Philippa January 09, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Could not have been simpler or easier"

Could not have been simpler or easier, they did everything required and more. Nice, pleasant to talk to, they do all the leg work, put everything into context and resolve as quick as possible. Hopefully will not have to use again but if a situation arises then would not hesitate…

DarrenJanuary 08, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Very helpful and always kept in touch…"

Very helpful and always kept in touch via email through the while process. Highly recommended

Joseph Conrad Waudby January 07, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Brilliant customer service"

Brilliant customer service, always will contact you as they say they will. Have been very helpful with my case and explained the process thoroughly, very easy to understand. Would definitely recommend.

Julia MatildaJanuary 07, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Verry happy with the result they got…"

Verry happy with the result they got for my claim very officiant and professional my particular solicitor was the most friendly official type person that I have dealt with before really happy with the freindly kind manner in which they dealt with myself and my claim I would recommend them…

Richard RobertsJanuary 07, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Very impressed with the fast turn…"

Very impressed with the fast turn around of Hudgell. Very responsive and friendly too.

CustomerJanuary 03, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Wonderful service"

Wonderful service, was kept up to date regularly and once they received an offer to settle my case, they advised that they could get a better offer and did just that, will definitely pick up the phone again if I ever require their services in future.

Jordan HowarthJanuary 03, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"These solicitors were very helpful and…"

These solicitors were very helpful and I was surprised when they told me that they were pursuing a totally different avenue to the one I thought was available. They were very efficient, constantly in communication with myself and were direct with the opposite party. Needless to say, they won my…

GARY COSGROVEJanuary 03, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Take a leaf out of there book"

I would certainly recommend Was kept up to date via email promptly each time I asked a question Postal and email correspondence was fluent and my claim settled in a timely manner Many thanks to Alex and his hard work

Mandy Michelle WainwrightJanuary 03, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Couldn’t of chose a better solicitors…"

Couldn’t of chose a better solicitors to go through my claim with, Sarah informed me every step of the way (even when they was nothing to update me with) was such a quick process and she couldn’t of been more helpful ! 5*

Courtney FriendJanuary 03, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"karl griffin fantastic man"

karl griffin was fantastic extremely helpful and fought every step of the way for me he was always there whenever i needed him i highly recommend hudgell solicitors to anyone who needs there help they made a horrible situation dissappear

Jeni DaleJanuary 03, 2020

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Alex is amazing"

Alex is amazing! He took over my claim and everything changed from negative to positive. Case still ongoing but fantastic service so far from Alex. Great communication - answering calls and emails. Spot on in everything. I am very glad he is handling my case now and I am confident…

Seth OppongDecember 27, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Highly recommended"

Excellent service and communication from start to finish. The whole process of handling my personal injury claim was dealt with quickly and courteously.

MikeNovember 26, 2019

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

"Becci was amazing"

Becci was amazing, she was so friendly and helpful and couldn’t have done a better job at helping me with my claim. Very happy.

Katherine JanineNovember 08, 2019