New procedures surrounding the whooping cough vaccination for pregnant women have been put in place in Doncaster after the death of a four-week-old baby from the disease.
Grieving mother Hayley Drew told an inquest her daughter Isabella could still be alive had she been offered a vaccination in pregnancy.
Isabella’s inquest heard there had been several ‘missed opportunities’ by GPs, community midwives and staff at Doncaster Royal infirmary to inform Mrs Drew, of Bawtry, about the vaccination during her pregnancy.
A vaccine programme had been introduced by the Department of Health in 2012, following a rise in the number of cases with guidelines stating it be offered to pregnant women during routine antenatal appointments with a nurse, midwife or GP.
But in evidence read out from Mrs Drew, she said the first time she was asked if she had had the vaccination was at an appointment with a midwife on Friday, July 31, when she was 35 weeks’ pregnant.
She was advised by midwife Rachel Parkinson to bring this up at her next appointment, at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.
Mrs Drew said: “I mentioned the whooping cough vaccine at the hospital and the woman said she would find out if I needed to have it.
“She told me the hospital didn’t do them.
“I didn’t query it because I thought the hospital knew what they were doing and if I needed to have it they would have said.
“The biggest regret of my life is not questioning it.”
She added: “If I’d had the vaccination it is likely our beautiful Bella would still be with us.”
The court heard the vaccinations were administered at GP surgeries but normal procedure was for the issue to be discussed at a mother’s first booking in appointment with a midwife.
Mrs Drew, who has three daughters from a previous marriage, gave birth to the twins Isabella and Gabriella on August 11 last year after going through IVF.
The inquest heard Mrs Drew had been suffering from a suspected chest infection and one of her other daughters Sophie also had a cough and had been told it was a viral infection.
On September 5 Isabella started showing signs of a cough and her parents thought she may have picked up a cold from the family.
But over the next few days Isabella’s condition deteriorated until the youngster was rushed to Doncaster Royal Infirmary before being transferred to Sheffield Children’s hospital.
Mrs Drew described seeing her baby covered in tubes on the day of her death on September 9.
“Nothing could have prepared us for what we saw.
“To all intense and purposes she was already gone.
“It was clear to us our little baby was not going to make it.”
A christening was performed in the hospital before the machines were turned off.
“We accepted the inevitable Bella was placed on my lap and one by one the machines were turned off.
“All that was left was the pain the likes of which can’t be described.”
The family then faced the heartbreaking wait to check if there other daughter Gabriella had the condition but she was given the all clear.
The inquest heard Mrs Drew had seen a leaflet about whooping cough vaccination after Isabella’s death at her mother’s doctor’s surgery and had taken it to her GP in Bawtry to ask why they didn’t have them.
She added; “I wish to God I had been given a leaflet because she would probably still be here today if I had.”
Dr Irene Rezk of the Mayflower Medical Practice in Bawtry saw Mrs Drew had visited the surgery on June 5 with a urinary infection but the vaccination was never discussed at this appointment.
She added: “I am really sorry, I do apologise this would have been a good opportunity to mention the vaccine.
“It was a missed opportunity.”
The inquest heard that it was normal practice for the vaccination to be discussed at a booking in appointment with a community midwife but that the notes on the whooping cough section had not been completed on Mrs Drew’s forms.
The inquest heard that new procedures surrounding whooping cough vaccination had been brought in with community midwives, the GP surgery and Doncaster Royal Infirmary following the incident.
The NHS recommends pregnant women are vaccinated against whooping cough during pregnancy as it protects babies until they are old enough to have their own vaccination at two years old.
The inquest continues.