Inquest into baby tragedy

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A BABY died when he was less than an hour old, following a 61-hour delay in delivering him.

Oliver Schofield died at 42-minutes old of pneumonia, brought on by an infection he picked up while his mother, Sarah Dawson, was waiting to give birth at Dewsbury and District Hospital, an inquest in Bradford heard.

Miss Dawson’s waters broke on July 12 last year. But Oliver wasn’t delivered until a Caesarean section 61 hours later, and died shortly afterwards.

The delay in his delivery was caused by staff shortages, missing equipment and a policy to avoid assisted births at night at Dewsbury, the inquest was told.

Miss Dawson, 34, and her partner Phillip Schofield, 33, of Morley, have called for changes to be made at the hospital in light of their son’s death.

On Wednesday, coroner Professor Paul Marks gave a narrative verdict in which he said the delay in inducing labour at Dewsbury hospital ‘materially contributed to Oliver’s death’.

Prof Marks is writing to the Mid-Yorkshire NHS Hospital Trust, which runs the hospital, to raise his concerns about the events that led to Oliver’s death.

After the hearing, Miss Dawson said: “Phillip and I have been completely devastated by the loss of our son, and it is horrible to know that his death was due to a simple lack of care being available to us when we needed it.

“We hope the Trust will acknowledge that it made mistakes in our case and can apologise for the loss it has caused us.

“I find it hard to get through each day knowing that Oliver should still be with us.

“Changes need to be made to prevent this from happening in the future. No-one else should have to go through what Phillip and I have.”

The couple’s lawyer, Suzanne Munroe, said: “As it stands, if another expectant mother was to attend Dewsbury and District Hospital in the evening they would still be sent away, and this could lead to exactly the same scenario developing again.”

Professor Tim Hendra, medical director at Mid-Yorkshire, said: “We would like to offer our sincere sympathies to Miss Dawson and Mr Schofield for their sad loss.

“We are deeply sorry for the distress they have been through.” He said the Trust investigated the management of Ms Dawson’s labour and had already taken steps to improve patient care. Prof Hendra said it would review the coroner’s recommendations and take any action necessary.

A hospital spokesman said patients could be induced out-of-hours at Dewsbury if there was a medical reason to do so.