A HOSPITAL has apologised and paid compensation to a Wisbech couple whose baby was stillborn following a catalogue of errors during his birth.
Zoe and Robert Rust are still trying to come to terms with the loss of their son Lincoln almost two years after his death on July 22, 2010.
But the couple finally feel some vindication after the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn admitted Lincoln’s death was caused by its negligence and said that procedures have been tightened up as a result.
Zoe and Rob have been told Lincoln’s death was avoidable if the hospital had given Zoe an elective Caesarean section, rather than waiting to induce the baby.
Zoe had difficult births with her older sons Brandon (8) and Devon (6). Brandon was delivered by emergency Caesarean. But despite her history with her other two children the hospital wanted Zoe to have her third baby naturally.
Consequently she went into hospital on July 21 to be induced, but was not given the necessary drug, prostaglandin, until 7pm.
“They were breaking their own rules when they gave Zoe prostaglandin so late in the day. It is recommended to be given in the morning so there is a surgical team available if things go wrong,” explained Rob.
Within hours of having the drug Zoe was in agonising pain, but examinations showed she was not in labour.
“I was in so much pain I could hardly breathe. I thought I was going to die. I was so scared,” said Zoe, who is still undergoing counselling for her loss.
By 3.10am Zoe was still in pain but not in labour and checks showed the baby’s heartbeat was dropping. She was rushed to theatre but the only surgical team on night duty was busy delivering another baby.
Lincoln was eventually delivered stillborn by Caesarean at 4.10am – news which Rob had to break to Zoe.
“It seemed unbelievable to me that all this time we had been begging for a Caesarean section and that request had been refused by all sorts of people and now Lincoln was dead,” said Zoe.
Subsequently a consultant explained Zoe’s uterus had ruptured which caused Lincoln to suffocate.
“I’d never even heard of it before, but rupture of the uterus is a risk with prostaglandin if a woman has previously had a Caesarean. If I had known that risk I would not have taken it – no mother would,” said Zoe.
Rob and Zoe have spent two years in a legal battle with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to get an apology and admission that Lincoln’s death was their fault.
The couple have also won financial compensation, but have settled for a lot smaller sum than they could otherwise perhaps win.
“We were told we could continue to fight for more but I am just not strong enough and it was never about money
“I just wanted an apology and an admission it was their fault,” said Zoe, who issued a heartfelt thank-you to family and friends, particularly their colleagues at Asda and Princes Foods who have supported them throughout their traumatic ordeal.
A hospital spokesman said: “The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust recognises that things should have been dealt with differently and very much regrets what happened. A thorough review was conducted by senior staff at the Trust following which appropriate action was taken so that these problems do not arise in the future. The Trust continues to work hard to ensure that the quality of its healthcare service is improved.”
Now Zoe and Rob are hoping they can begin to move on and are busy organising a memorial football match with the help of Rob’s brother Martin Pettit to raise money for SANDS, a charity which helps bereaved parents of babies.
The game, which is being held on Saturday, May 19, at 2pm at Wisbech Town Football ground, will be between friends and family of Rob and Zoe, who will be wearing football shirts bearing Lincoln’s name, and Wisbech Town veterans.
Admission is £2 and there will be a raffle. Anyone wishing to make a donation or to give a prize can do so via the Fenland Citizen Office at 11 Union Street, Wisbech.