In June 2013, Claire Smith and her partner, Scott Allen, learned they were expecting their third child. But Smith didn’t learn of her pregnancy until she was 27 weeks along.
As Metro reports, Smith’s water broke at 30 weeks and the mother of three spent five days in the hospital before being discharged. Three weeks later Smith went into labor. Doctors at Nottingham City Hospital advised Smith an emergency Cesarean section was her only course of action.
After delivery, baby Carson was rushed to intensive care and given oxygen and treated for underdeveloped lungs. Doctors also tried to stop the bleeding from a two-inch incision that had accidentally been made into the soft part of baby’s skull by a scalpel during the C-section. Sadly, Carson died three hours later of a hemorrhage.
According to the BBC, in 2014, the baby’s death was ruled an accident. The coroner criticized the hospital trust in charge of Nottingham City Hospital for its “woefully inadequate” investigation.
A court has since heard Smith was never informed her pregnancy was high-risk due to a procedure from 2011 known to cause complications during pregnancy and doctors “missed several opportunities” to adequately review Smith’s medical records, reports Metro.
Smith and Allen said in the years following their son’s death, they blamed themselves.
According to Metro, Smith said:
“I found the inquest very difficult and have spent the past four years thinking this was my fault.
I thought the cut on Carson’s head was because of the procedure I had in 2011 – it wasn’t until the result of the post-mortem that I found out it was caused by a scalpel.
From start to finish, my care was absolutely horrendous.
For Carson’s life to end in the way it did is unacceptable. During my C-section, the doctor cut my baby’s head so deeply that he died.
I am a good mum and the chance to be a mum to Carson was taken away from me.
It has been the worst experience of my life and I doubt my family will ever get over our loss. I hope that others don’t have to lose something so precious in such a traumatic way.”
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust settled a claim of clinical negligence, reports the BBC. Head of service for obstetrics and gynecology, Dr. Lucy Kean, said of the incident:
“We reiterate the trust’s condolences to the family on the death of their son, Carson, and apologize for the shortfalls in our care, mindful that no words or amount of money can undo the harm and distress the family have experienced as a result of this case.
According to Metro, Smith said she “desperately needed” the hospital’s apology but it has not given her closure. Smith said she visits the cemetery where Carson is buried twice a day to keep his memory alive.
The mother also encourages parents to fight for answers if they’ve lost a child: “My message to others out there would be to trust your instincts. It’s why I fought the case — I did this for other babies, parents and families to ensure no one else has to lose something so precious in such a traumatic way.”