Parents want answers after baby death

COULD our beautiful boy have been saved?That is the heart-wrenching question a devastated Ipswich couple are today demanding Ipswich Hospital answers.

COULD our beautiful boy have been saved?

That is the heart-wrenching question a devastated Ipswich couple are today demanding Ipswich Hospital answers.

The three-and-a-half weeks after their baby son, Samuel, were both the best and the worst weeks of Sarah and Colin Wright's lives.

They doted on little Samuel, their first child - who was born 12 weeks prematurely on February 20.


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However, their happiness was destroyed when they discovered he was suffering from the premature baby disease necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) - a condition which is said to have led to his caused his death.

Now, more than two months later, they have begun to question the quality of the care he received at Ipswich Hospital. The couple are awaiting a reply after writing to Andrew Reed, its chief executive, to call for an inquiry in order to try and prevent other couples suffering the grief they are going through.

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Mrs Wright, of High View Road, Ipswich, said: “You don't ask questions at the time. You don't want to questions people's abilities, especially doctors and nurses because you put your trust in them and believe what they say.

“Looking back now I feel there are so many times I should have spoken out. I just want answers.

“I don't want compensation I want to stop this happening to other people.”

In a shaky voice Mrs Wright, 28, explained that Samuel had been born prematurely, possibly because of a water infection she suffered at the time.

Samuel was transported to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital in Norwich where he was looked after for three weeks before being transferred back to Ipswich.

Mrs Wright said: “The care in Norwich was fantastic. He was in an incubator all the time he was there and when we left we were told he just needed to put on some weight and we could take him home.

“When Samuel arrived at Ipswich Hospital he was immediately put into a normal, open, unheated cot instead of an incubator.

“They had, however, put four layers of clothing on Samuel and three blankets. He had so many clothes on, his arms were stiff, stuck out and he had no freedom of movement.”

The next day Mrs Wright said she noticed deterioration in his condition, but there was only one nurse and one trainee on duty. She said she had to ask several times before he was checked and eventually put in an incubator.

The day after the Wrights were called into the hospital and told Samuel had gone back into intensive care. He had been diagnosed with NEC.

As Mrs Wright told of his fight for life, her eyes lit up as she spoke of Samuel courage as he battled to stay alive during an ambulance journey back to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital and the three operations he underwent there.

She said: “He was such a fighter; they kept saying he wouldn't make it but he got through the operations.

“I felt so helpless, I was his mum and should have been able to help but I couldn't do anything.”

Samuel died the next day on March 17 as a result of the disease.

Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman for the hospital management, said the hospital did not comment on ongoing investigations but added: “We take all concerns very seriously. We are currently taking a very clear and thorough investigation into the issues this family have asked us to look at.”

AFTER Samuel's death Mrs Wright and her 34-year-old husband, tried to come to terms with their overwhelming sense of grief.

However, as they replayed the events again and again they came to believe Samuel's death could have been prevented.

Mrs Wright said she was concerned he had got cold because he had not been in an incubator at Ipswich Hospital. She is also worried that signs which might have pointed to an early diagnosis of NEC were missed, such as retaining milk in his intestine.

Mrs Wright added she is also concerned by what appeared to be a lack of staff and up-to-date equipment in the maternity ward of the hospital.

As a result of their concerns Mr and Mrs Wright took the decision to write to the hospital on May 1.

In a letter to the chief executive they said: “We need to know if this disease could have been firstly prevented, secondly should the symptoms have been noticed sooner and hence diagnosed sooner, and thirdly, could it have been treated earlier once diagnosed than it possibly was?

“As an additional concern, we were distressed at the lack of nurses on the ward, and the level of knowledge and training that they appeared to have had.”

She added she was upset with the government because she felt not enough money was being injected into the health service and was concerned that when babies are transferred to other hospitals it can result in parents and their newborns being separated as they travel to whichever hospital has a space for them.

Mrs Wright added: “Half of me feels guilty about writing because the nurses in Ipswich only want to do their best but they don't have the equipment, training or support they need to make them the best.”

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