Hundreds of Banburyshire people have flocked to sign a petition calling for women in labour to be able to have hospital care all the way through.
The petition was launched after a Banbury couple’s first baby died in the womb after the mum was sent home from the JR Hospital, Oxford to wait for things to progress.
The grief-stricken mother had to bear labour and then endure a wait of four more hours for an operating theatre to become free for a repair.
Jeeva Philip had had a trouble free pregnancy and went into labour on December 27. She and husband Arul knew their baby was a boy.
He was named Adriel and they bought a blue layette to take into the JR hospital, Oxford for his birth.
“We headed to the hospital at noon and after a long wait of two hours they monitored Jeeva’s vitals and our little one’s too. They informed us that she was 2cms dilated. The midwife said admission is only possible if she was 4cms dilated,” said Mr Philip, a clinical perfusionist.
Mrs Philip – a radiographer at the Horton – was given painkillers and told to go home until the labour progressed.
“If only we had insisted on an admission and continuous monitoring of the baby we would have had him in our arms now,” said Mr Philip.
“He normally isn’t so active in the night so my wife presumed he was fast asleep since he had been active since morning.
“Her waters had broken early on December 29 and we were at the hospital by 7.30am. The midwife made checks and everything was within the normal ranges.
“At last she performed a Doppler test to listen to his heart beat since we informed her about his immobility. We never knew that moment would turn our lives upside down.”
A scan confirmed there was no heartbeat.
Mrs Philip then had to undergo a seven hour labour – knowing her son had not survived – and after that trauma, faced a wait of four hours for theatre space to become available to repair a tear.
Mr Philip has demanded to know why women in labour are not admitted to hospital for continuous monitoring, why delivery could not be led by a doctor rather than a midwife once loss of the baby was known about and why his wife had been ‘starved’ for 28 hours.
He also questioned whether the JR’s level of quality treatment was compromised by the closure of the Horton obstetric unit and consequent increase in deliveries in Oxford.
The grief-stricken father said he felt such helplessness during the intense situation he did not have the wherewithall to question professionals in the JR department at the time.
Dr Veronica Miller, clinical director of women’s services at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is an incredibly sad case and we offer our sincere sympathies to the family for their terrible loss.
“We have referred this case to the Healthcare Safety Information Branch for an independent external investigation, in accordance with Department of Health and Social Care guidance. We will co-operate fully with this investigation.”
The Change.org petition was drawn up by Antony Cithera, a family friend. It can be found at https://www.change.org/p/uk-parliament-nhs-should-admit-monitor-pregnant-mothers-from-starting-of-delivery-pain