Death of 26minute old baby prompts priority changes at Ipswich Hospital

Ipswich Hospital

Ipswich Hospital - Credit: Gregg Brown

Procedures for helping some mothers give birth have been changed at Ipswich Hospital following the death of a newborn girl.

Tara Harris died just 26 minutes after her birth on July 22, 2014, an inquest held at IP City Centre in Bath Street, Ipswich was told yesterday.

Her mother Philomena Harris, who was present at the inquest with husband John, had contacted the hospital on July 19 after her waters had broken but was unable to be seen there until July 21.

However as Mrs Harris, from Stoke-by-Clare, was not going into labour staff at the hospital began trying to induce the birth.

During monitoring of the unborn Tara’s heart rate it was found to have dropped very low and an emergency Cesarian section was required.

Despite this, and resuscitation attempts, the baby died shortly after birth.

At the inquest Dr Ruta Garta, who investigated the circumstances surrounding the death for the hospital, said management of the situation had been in accordance with the local practices of the time, but changes had since been made.

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But she added it was not clear why Tara had died so soon and no specific infections had been identified in the placenta during a post mortem investigation, carried out at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.

Dr Garta said none of the tests or examinations carried out on mother and baby during Mrs Harris’ time in hospital showed anything of concern to staff.

“Most times you find signs of infection and we do act on them,” Dr Garta said. “At that time it did seem like everything was fine.”

She also said as a result of the investigation it was now the hospital’s policy to start inductions within 24 hours of a woman’s waters breaking and priority within the hospital would be given to these people.

An improvement in some documentation had also been implemented.

Recording a narrative verdict coroner Yvonne Blake said: “Tara Harris died shortly after an emergency delivery. There are no definite signs of foetal distress just before the birth.

“Sadly resuscitation was unsuccessful.”