Jessop Wing Sheffield: Bereaved mum demands to know why she waited hours for potentially lifesaving caesarean

A heartbroken Sheffield mother asked doctors at her baby’s inquest why she waited two hours for a potentially lifesaving caesarean that should have been done in 30 minutes.
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Barney Bear Hutton was just five-days-old when he passed away at Sheffield Children’s Hospital on June 16, 2021. He was born at just 30 weeks after his mother, Stephanie, was brought to the nearby Jessop Wing maternity unit with abdominal pain and bleeding.

A post mortem found the little boy suffered serious brain damage brought on by a lack of oxygen that almost certainly occurred during delays in his delivery.

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However, an inquest into Barney’s death held yesterday (November 24) heard how a dangerous anomaly in his heart rate was not treated severely enough by registrars – if it had, the team would likely have carried out an emergency caesarean immediately.

A grieving mum has asked doctors why there was such a long delay in her having a C-section at the Jessop Wing maternity unit in Sheffield. Her baby son died five days after his birth, an inquest in Sheffield has heard this week (Photo: illustrative purposes only)A grieving mum has asked doctors why there was such a long delay in her having a C-section at the Jessop Wing maternity unit in Sheffield. Her baby son died five days after his birth, an inquest in Sheffield has heard this week (Photo: illustrative purposes only)
A grieving mum has asked doctors why there was such a long delay in her having a C-section at the Jessop Wing maternity unit in Sheffield. Her baby son died five days after his birth, an inquest in Sheffield has heard this week (Photo: illustrative purposes only)

“All my scans were normal – he was perfectly healthy,” said the boy’s tearful mother at the hearing. “So why, between me getting there and him coming out, did I wait two hours?

“How could anybody have waited that long? They should have got him out in 30 minutes.”

Assistant coroner Stephen Eccleston heard how the worryingly slow heartbeat was spotted as the team monitored the mum and baby’s heartbeat – known as a CTG – and it was even “underlined repeatedly” in briefing notes as ‘pathological’, meaning it was a serious concern.

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But the issue wasn’t treated seriously enough by registrars on Jessops Wing. The surgeon who delivered the baby, Dr Ranjan Sen, told the inquest he was not made aware of this critical fact when he arrived on the ward – otherwise, he would have taken the mum to surgery immediately.

Mr Ecclestone asked the paedatrican: “Did they [the registrars] tell you about the anomaly?”

“No,” said Dr Sen. “[The registrars] do not need a doctor’s advice, they are experienced to read a CTG and write it up.

“The registrar should have registered that the CTG was pathological at that point?” asked Mr Eccleston.

“I would think so, yes,” said Dr Sen.

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“I would say it should have been a ‘category one’ [grounds for emergency caesarean within 30 minutes].”

“Would a faster caesarean have affected Barney’s outcome?” asked the coroner.

“It’s difficult to say,” said Dr Sen. “The process started long before she arrived at hospital and baby was premature already. I could not say with certainty.”

The inquest also heard how, because the team had not escalated how serious the issue was, they chose to wait for a Covid-19 test and a platelets test to come back to see if it was safe to anaesthetize Stephanie. However, the court heard both tests came back safe 10 minutes before Dr Sen even arrived on the ward.

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“Why did everyone wait when my tests had come back already?” the grieving mother asked the doctor.

“In that case, I think it is quite right to say the caesarean section should have happened earlier,” the surgeon replied.

The inquest is due to conclude today (November 25).

It comes after Jessop Wing was slammed for failings in a report earlier this year. After being rated ‘inadequate’ by the CQC in March 2021, inspectors were in disbelief to find it had “deteriorated” even further in a second visit in October 2021.

Medical negligence lawyers from Sheffield-based firm Irwin Mitchell labelled the report “extremely worrying”. At the time, Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Trust said it was “devastated” by the findings and it was investing in more midwives as part of its efforts to recruit 500 more nurses.