A hospital trust has pleaded guilty to failing to provide safe care and treatment following the death of a baby at just 23 minutes old.
The mother of Wynter Andrews said she was “failed in the most cruel way” by Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH).
The trust put Sarah Andrews and her daughter Wynter at “significant risk of avoidable harm”, according to a prosecutor, by being understaffed and failing to ensure staff at the Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC) in Nottingham were aware of its guidelines.
Wynter was “born in a poor condition with a very slow heart rate” by emergency caesarean section in September 2019.
Just 23 minutes and 30 seconds later, she died in the arms of her mother and father, Gary Andrews, despite “extensive efforts” to resuscitate her.
An earlier inquest into Wynter’s death ruled that she died after suffering a loss of oxygen flow to the brain, which could have been prevented by staff at the QMC.
The NHS trust admitted two counts of failing to provide safe care and treatment resulting in harm and loss in relation to Wynter and her mother.
Speaking outside Nottingham Magistrates’ Court alongside the family’s solicitor, Mrs Andrews said: “As first-time parents, all we ever wanted was to bring our precious baby home.
“Management at the trust were repeatedly warned by staff about safety at the unit, but they failed to act. They were repeatedly warned by bereaved and harmed families, but they failed to listen and to learn.
“They were repeatedly told by different investigative bodies over many years about maternity safety concerns at the trust, yet they failed to make the critical changes needed.
“We hope that this criminal prosecution against the trust for its unsafe care will finally be the jolt they need to prioritise patient safety and result in meaningful change.”
Following the hearing, Anthony May, the trust’s chief executive, said: “We are truly sorry for the pain and grief that we caused Mr and Mrs Andrews due to failings in the maternity care we provided.
“We let them down at what should have been a joyous time in their lives.
Ryan Donoghue, prosecuting, outlined multiple “serious” and “sustained” failings in the care of Mrs Andrews, exacerbated by staff shortages which led to the midwife caring for her also having to care for a patient on another ward.
Mr Donoghue told the court that the trust “failed to ensure that staff were appropriately aware and trained” in policies concerning the care of expectant mothers and delivering babies, including physical checks, when to consult more senior colleagues and the prescription of drugs.
District Judge Grace Leong told the court that she would pass sentence – which at most could be an unlimited fine – on Friday.