Mum's "agony" at baby's death during labour after hospital staff missed "red flags"

Mum's "agony" at baby's death during labour after hospital staff missed "red flags"

By Jill Theobald | 28/06/2022

Mum's 'agony' at baby's death during labour after hospital staff missed 'red flags'


THE grieving mum of a baby who died after hospital staff ignored numerous “red flags” during labour told how she begged midwives to give her a Caesarean section — only to be ignored.

Emily Barley (pictured), who lives in Wentworth, said she was still suffering panic attacks and nightmares a month after little Beatrice was stillborn at Barnsley Hospital.

“Every morning, I wake up hoping it was all a nightmare, and then I cry when I realise again that it’s real,” Emily said.

“My baby is really dead, and she shouldn’t be.

“I am in agony. I can’t find the words to explain how this feels.

“She should be here.”

She added: “I shouted — I begged them for to do a C-section to get her out. The doctor said no.”

Emily, the Conservative group leader for Rotherham Council, said she and mum Jill Thompson repeatedly asked for action to be taken after serious falls were detected in Beatrice’s heart rate.

But they said after declaring that Beatrice’s heart was no longer beating, the consultant obstetrician in charge had refused to discuss birthing options and walked out of the room without even offering their sympathies — forcing Emily to go through almost three further hours of labour while trying to come to terms with the death of her daughter.

Emily (33) said: “For over two hours, the people who were supposed to look after me and my baby faffed around instead of doing something.
“It feels like all these people just watched my baby die.

“At the time, I was in a lot of pain with strong, close together contractions and I didn’t understand what was going on. But now I know that there were so many opportunities to save my daughter.

“I just can’t understand why nothing was done. The hospital has apologised, but nothing they can say will bring my daughter back.

“Now I’m worried that more babies could be hurt or die at Barnsley.”

After a “normal, uneventful pregnancy” during which Emily and her unborn baby “passed every test with flying colours”, the expectant mum had been planning a home birth, but had back-up plans to go into hospital.

She went to hospital at 1.40pm on May 20, having awoken in pain and decided against a home birth.

“The attitude was derisive, that maybe I was a bit of a drama queen and I feel that may be the root of the problem from that point on and why I wasn’t listened to,” Emily said.

After “big decelerations” were detected in Beatrice’s heart rate, the midwife “did not seem overly concerned”, Emily said, with pressure on the umbilical cord given as a possible cause.

Emily was moved into the birthing suite after going into active labour, when, she says, “another red flag” — “brown bits” in her waters — was missed.

She said a monitor had showed a heart rate well below the expected level for five minutes but, again, nothing was done.

Jill said: “I was shouting at them to do something. I was asking for a C-section long before Beatrice died and they just ignored me.

“Their negligence killed my granddaughter. To me it feels like murder.”

A Barnsley Hospital spokesperson said: “We are deeply sorry and offer our sincere condolences for the loss of baby Beatrice.

“The trust made some immediate changes prior to meeting with Emily and her mum to discuss the events of Beatrice’s birth.

“We also hope to learn more from the outcome of the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch investigation, which is ongoing.”


DEVASTATED Emily Barley described the moment she was shown on a monitor that little Beatrice’s heart was not beating.

“It took me a while to understand what had happened,” she said.

“I looked at the screen and all these people were crying and I began to understand.

“I shouted, I begged them for to do a C-section to get her out. The doctor said no.
“Mum followed her out of the room and brought her back to explain and she said there was a risk of rupturing the uterus, but that’s a general risk with C-sections.”

After nearly three further hours of labour, Emily gave birth to Beatrice at 9.38pm.

“I held her and immediately had that incredible rush of love people talk about,” she said. “I had all of that emotion, even though she was completely lifeless.”

Emily praised the “caring and kind” staff at the hospital’s Rainbow Room maternity bereavement service, where she was able to spend all night and several days with her daughter.

But having never experienced mental health issues in the past, she was left suffering nightmares and panic attacks after Beatrice’s death and added: “It is definitely trauma I am dealing with.”

A preliminary postmortem report indicated ‘intrapartum asphyxia’ — deprivation of oxygen during the birth process — as the cause of death. A full report will follow.

Both Emily and her mum, who have complained to Barnsley Hospital, have been interviewed by the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch, which is carrying out an investigation and will publish its findings in two to five months.