Parents’ heartbreak over newborn baby

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A DENTIST from Sheffield and her doctor husband lost their third child just hours after her birth when an infection tore through the baby girl’s tiny body.

Neena Mathew, aged 31, who a Sheffield inquest was told had lost two previous babies during pregnancy, carried little Rayna full term without complications.

But shortly after Neena went into labour, with her husband Anum at her side, doctors at the Jessop Wing of the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield detected problems with baby Rayna’s heartbeat.

The problem resolved itself but then the baby’s condition suddenly deteriorated, the hearing was told.

Consultant obstetrician Dr Fiona Fairlie told the inquest she was first informed there was an abnormality with the heart rate during labour at 6.30am.

Dr Fairlie then asked for Mrs Mathew’s waters to be broken and, once the membrane was ruptured, a blood sample was taken from the baby which, the inquest heard, was ‘grossly abnormal’.

The baby was delivered by Caesarean section but was so ill she died less than three hours later.

Dr Mathew, 34, asked if an earlier intervention would have saved his daughter, but Dr Fairlie said she could not say.

She added: “The only warning was the fetal heart rates but at the time they were not thought to be significant. There were no obvious signs of infection in the mother.”

A post mortem examination undertaken by Sheffield Children’s Hospital pathologist Mudher Al-Adnani at first proved inconclusive.

But he told the inquest that further tests indicated the placenta was very small for a baby that had gone full term.

Dr Al-Adnani added: “The membrane showed acute infection. An inflammation of the umbilical cord indicated the baby was also infected.”

The inquest heard that because the placenta was so small it may have caused the umbilical cord to be squeezed, causing the baby to empty her bowels and in turn cause the infection.

Dr Al-Adnani added: “The organism was a matter of hours old, a maximum of 24 hours.”

Coroner Donald Coutts Wood, who recorded a narrative verdict, said the investigation into Rayna’s death had been complex and complicated.

He added: “In effect the death was from natural causes.”