Parents' concern over baby investigation

TWO grieving parents are searching for answers today after the official explanation of their baby's death left them bewildered.Sarah and Colin Wright hoped when they received Ipswich Hospital's response to their concerns about the death of their beloved son, Samuel, they would be able to start moving on with their lives.

TWO grieving parents are searching for answers today after the official explanation of their baby's death left them bewildered.

Sarah and Colin Wright hoped when they received Ipswich Hospital's response to their concerns about the death of their beloved son, Samuel, they would be able to start moving on with their lives.

But after reading the report the couple, of High View Road, Ipswich, claim the document is a whitewash.

However, the hospital said their verdict of “no failings in care” was the result of a full and thorough investigation and chief executive Andrew Reed said he was disappointed that the professionalism and skill of their staff was being called into question in this way.

Sarah Wright, 28, said: “It [the report] didn't make me sad like I thought it would, it made me more angry.

“I think they've treated us like we're stupid and it seems a complete cover-up.

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“If anything it leaves us with more questions than before.”

The report, sent to the Wrights from Ipswich Hospital's chief executive, Andrew Reed, comes nearly three months after baby Samuel died at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital from Necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) on March 17.

He had originally been cared for at Norwich after being born very prematurely and was transferred to Ipswich a few weeks later. But when he fell ill, he was transferred back to Norwich where he died.

Mr and Mrs Wright wrote to the Heath Road hospital highlighting their concerns about Samuel's care on May 1 and on Friday, June 8, they received a response.

In it the hospital said: “The onset of NEC in Samuel's case appears to have been very rapid and progressive which has resulted in this tragic outcome and subsequent devastating and emotional trauma for his family.”

The report stressed that the nursing levels were “adequate” while Samuel was being cared for and said that everything that could be done to save him was done.

However Samuel's parents said it had not fully addressed their concerns about staffing levels and the speed at which he was treated and they will now take their concerns to the Healthcare Commission, an independent health watchdog.

n. What do you think of the investigation? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Some of the Wright's concerns

The incubator - Sarah Wright said she was particularly upset with Ipswich Hospital's reason for not putting Samuel in an incubator.

The hospital said: “It was felt that there would be less barriers for his parents if he were in a cot.” But Mrs Wright said she had always asked for him to be in an incubator, as he was in Norwich.

She was also dismayed that staff at Ipswich Hospital, by their own admission, had not made contact with the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital to see if Samuel had been cared for in an incubator in Norfolk.

The hospital's letter said: “No information was relayed from Norfolk and Norwich Hospital as to whether Samuel was cared for in an incubator or a cot.”

Clothing - The hospital said it was “acceptable” for three layers of clothing, a hat, a sheet and two blankets to be used to maintain a baby's temperature in a cot. But according to Mrs Wright Samuel had four layers of clothing on at one point leaving him looking like a “scarecrow”.

IPSWICH Hospital today stressed their “no failings in care” verdict was the result of a full and thorough investigation.

Chief executive Andrew Reed spoke of his disappointment that his staff's care was being called into question, and urged Sarah and Colin Wright to contact the hospital direct with concerns.

In a statement, Mr Reed said: “Baby Samuel's death is tragic and the disease he suffered from is devastating. The trust extends its sincere sympathies to Mr and Mrs Wright.

“We have offered and continue to offer the family the opportunity to come and talk to us so that we can respond to their concerns. This invitation has not been taken up and we are sorry that instead the family has chosen the media as the conduit to raise issues.

“Babies born as prematurely as Samuel are extremely vulnerable, and the illness which caused Samuel's death is a known complication of being born so early. A thorough investigation into Samuel's care was carried out, but in the context of so premature a birth we can find no failings in care. I feel disappointed that the professionalism and skill of our dedicated clinical staff are being called into question in this manner.”

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