Mum's anger as dead baby gets hospital letter - after 20 years

A MOTHER has criticised an Essex hospital after it sent a medical questionnaire to her baby daughter who died 20 years ago.

A MOTHER has criticised an Essex hospital after it sent a medical questionnaire to her baby daughter who died 20 years ago.

The letter, addressed to Rebecca Davey, arrived at her home last week asking her about how she was living with her medical problems.

But baby Rebecca as born with a hole in her abdominal wall and never left hospital.

The girl died in 1989 following an operation at the age of just six months.


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Yesterday, her mother Tracey, 46, from Chelmsford, Essex, said the questionnaire - sent by The Barts and London NHS Trust - had stirred up a whirlpool of emotions.

She said: “We received the letter last Wednesday. When I saw the name on the envelope I was just stunned.

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“We deliberated over who was to open it and in the end I did.

“It read 'Dear Sir or Madam, from our hospital data record I find that you were born with an abdominal wall defect'.

“I was just stunned, I couldn't believe it.

“My younger daughter just sat there and cuddled me.”

The questionnaire went on to ask questions about living with the defect, such as 'How is your health this week compared to last week?' and 'Can you walk up and down stairs?'

Mrs Davey, an administrator who lives with policeman husband Alan, 46, and daughters Nicola, 19, and Abigail, 18, said the letter brought back a flood of emotions.

She said: “I used to dream she wasn't really dead, and that I just hadn't gone to visit her in hospital.

“I would feel guilty then I used to visit her and feel better that she was alive.

“Then I would wake up and it was a dream.

“I cradled her until she died and saw her in her coffin. I know she died but this arrives on the doormat and it brings that dream back.

“It brings back so many emotions, thoughts and fears.

“I spent a long time dealing with this - we live our lives, but it never leaves you.

“I think about her every day.”

Mrs Davey said she contacted Barts and London NHS Trust last week, who told her it would be best to email her complaint due to the postal strike.

But she has not received any apology.

She said: “I got an automated response. We had had no apology, not even a phone call.

“I want to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else.

“The hospital shouldn't be allowed to get away with this.”

A spokeswoman for Barts and London NHS Trust yesterday issued a statement to the EADT which contained an apology for the mistake.

It said: “Barts and The London NHS Trust is extremely sorry for the pain and distress caused to Mr and Mrs Davey.

“It is clear that the survey should never have been sent, and we deeply regret that it was.

“A full investigation is underway to understand how this error occurred, and to put steps in place to ensure it doesn't happen again.”

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