Death of mother and baby at East Surrey Hospital

We resolved a claim for damages against Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust for a husband whose wife and unborn child tragically died at East Surrey Hospital.

The mother-to-be presented at the hospital with an infection and was made to wait between two and three hours before being seen.  This was despite her being visibly unwell and in possession of a note from her GP which highlighted the severity of the situation.  The delay in administering treatment for the infection resulted in intrauterine death.

In handling the claim for clinical negligence, we instructed consultants in obstetrics and gynaecology, critical care, anaesthesia and haematology to review medical evidence and provide expert reports on the standard of care provided.  As well as the delays in initial assessment and care which resulted in the loss of the baby, the reports identified delays in carrying out an ultra-sound and emptying the mother’s uterus following the intrauterine death. There was also a failure to provide oxygen or adequate fluids, to consider additional antibiotics, and to ensure consultant-level, multi-disciplinary input from an early stage, leading to the tragic and unnecessary death of the mother. The consultants were highly critical of the failure to address the mother’s septic shock as evidenced by her consistently low blood pressure, rapid pulse and associated high temperature.

The evidence gathered confirmed the father’s view that his wife's and potentially his unborn child’s death were preventable. Following presentation of the claim to the trust and discussions, the matter was settled and compensation recovered.


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