Nottingham Hospital Faces Probe Over Three Infant Deaths in Historic Maternity Inquiry

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The Nottingham University Hospitals trust is currently under scrutiny following the deaths of three infants within their care in 2021. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is investigating the possibility that the trust failed to provide safe care and treatment during the delivery of the three infants who died within short succession of each other.

The trust finds itself at the heart of the largest ever maternity inquiry in NHS history, with close to 1800 cases under review by an investigative team led by senior midwife, Donna Ockenden. Parallel to this, the Nottinghamshire police have also initiated a criminal investigation into the trust’s maternity services.

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The three infant deaths under CQC investigation occurred at the City Hospital belonging to the trust, taking place in April, June and July of 2021. Key to these investigations is whether hospital staff could have detected placental abruptions in the mothers and performed emergency deliveries sooner. This medical complication, often indicated by intensified bleeding in the mother, can result in oxygen deprivation for the baby.

The CQC’s operational director, Lorraine Tedeschini, divulged that they are currently enquiring whether there is a reasonable suspicion that a criminal offence has been committed. Investigations are in progress, with further reports expected soon.

As part of these investigations, scrutiny has fallen on the case of Quinn Lias Parker. Baby Quinn, who tragically died just two days after his emergency Caesarean birth in July 2021, suffered from a series of hospital procedural errors which contributed to his untimely death. The report identified that a more timely delivery, borne from clear identification of the severity of bleeding and pain as signs of an abruption, could have changed the outcome.

Additional focus lies on whether the trust breached its duty of candour to the Parker family. This legal obligation requires openness and honesty with patients and their families. The cases of two other deceased infants, Adele O’Sullivan and Kahlani Rawson, are also being closely examined by the CQC.

26 minute old Adele died in April 2021, her life cut short by mismanaged medical care such as a delay in diagnosing her mother’s vaginal bleeding, a common sign of placental abruption. Kahalni, on the other hand, passed away four days after birth in June 2021 due to a delay in conducting a Caesarean section. Had it not been for this delay, Kahalni’s life could have been saved.

Earlier this year, in a separate case, the trust was fined £800,000 — a record for a maternity incident — for failing to provide safe care and treatment to infant Wynter Andrews and her mother Sarah in 2019, who tragically died aged 23 minutes.

Trust chief nurse, Michelle Rhodes, acknowledged the ongoing CQC investigations, stating that the trust cooperates fully while anticipating potential formal prosecution.