Bereaved Eastbourne mum’s heartbreak over treatment at Conquest Hospital in St Leonards

Conquest Hospital. SUS-170118-125109001

A heartbroken mum and her partner say they were treated ‘without any dignity or respect’ at the Conquest Hospital when she gave birth to their stillborn son.

Fay Percival said a midwife failed to help her while she was giving birth, leading to her baby falling to the floor.

She and her partner, Danny Hempton, have since lodged an official complaint with the NHS trust over their treatment.

Fay said: “Myself and my partner attended maternity at the Conquest on June 8 after a small blood loss. I was scanned and received the most devastating news that no heartbeat could be found from my 19-week-old baby. It was even more upsetting to find out we had lost our baby as only three days earlier, I called the midwifery unit at Eastbourne DGH to say I had not felt any movement for a day or so and something just didn’t feel right about my pregnancy.

“I was assured by a midwife that this was deemed as ‘normal’. We were a little taken back they didn’t invite us in to at least listen to the baby’s heartbeat. If this had been offered, we may have not only found out sooner but a prevention might have been an option.”

Fay, who lives in Eastbourne, started going into labour on June 12.

She said: “After 10 minutes of contractions I said to the midwife I could feel the pressure getting stronger. I didn’t want to deliver on the bed so was standing at the side with my partner standing with me. I then began shouting out to her, saying the baby was coming and to get something quick. The midwife didn’t assist. I carried on saying, ‘quick, quick he’s coming’. A pan was still not given. To myself and my partner’s horror, upset, shock and sheer devastation, my baby fell to the floor.

“The midwife was aware from the start that I was coming in to deliver my deceased baby. When he fell to the floor, the grief and heartache I yelled out, could be heard from elsewhere.

“My voice has blocked out most of the memory of the sound he made when he hit the floor but my poor partner was and is still left with that sound.

“Knowing I was delivering my baby but would never be able to take him home and watch him grow was understandably the hardest thing I have ever encountered in my whole life. I am more traumatised and devastated than I could ever put into words. My child and I were treated without any dignity or respect.

“After I asked the midwife to pick my baby up off the floor, she did so and placed him to the side of me, as if he was nothing, as if he was just a dead baby. I was so angry at this point.”

Fay and her partner have since received a letter of apology from Dr Adrian Bull, the trust’s chief executive.

Sarah Blanchard-Stow, assistant director of midwifery and nursing at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Miscarrying a baby is one of the hardest things a woman can experience and our deepest condolences are with Fay and her family.

“Our aim is to always provide one-to-one care with kindness and dignity and our midwifery team are committed to this. We have already been in contact with Fay and have offered to meet with her and her partner.”

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