Scarborough mum never got to hold her baby

Sarah Wallace, at her son's grave. Picture by Les Gibbon
Sarah Wallace, at her son's grave. Picture by Les Gibbon

A SCARBOROUGH mum whose newborn son died following a series of hospital errors has been awarded a cash settlement.

Sarah Wallace, 29, of Endcliff Crescent, Barrowcliff, never got to hold little Harry while he was alive and was not even aware he was fighting for his life.

Sarah Wallace, at her son's grave, from Scarborough has learned a catalogue of hospital failures led to the death of her new born baby boy (Harry) before she'd had a chance to hold him at Scarborough District General Hospital..Picture by Les Gibbon© tel: 07971 546747 email: Les@hullnews.co.uk

Sarah Wallace, at her son's grave, from Scarborough has learned a catalogue of hospital failures led to the death of her new born baby boy (Harry) before she'd had a chance to hold him at Scarborough District General Hospital..Picture by Les Gibbon© tel: 07971 546747 email: Les@hullnews.co.uk

She now believes that if he had been born during the day when a consultant was on duty, he would have survived.

Sarah, mum to three other children, said: “It’s heart-breaking that the reason I didn’t get to see Harry before he died was because lack of funding meant there was no one available to take me to the special care baby unit.

“It’s scandalous and I want to make sure it doesn’t happen to any other mums.

“I didn’t have the chance to will Harry to live. I couldn’t hug him while he was warm. I didn’t get to see his little toes wriggling.

“They even forgot to take a photo of him while he was alive. All I have is a lock of his hair and his hand and foot prints.”

An independent expert report, commissioned by Sarah’s lawyers Neil Hudgell Solicitors into baby Harry’s death, lists a series of errors by staff at Scarborough Hospital.

These include:

l failure to follow the proper respiratory support procedures.

• failure to transfer him urgently to a specialist unit in Leeds.

• failure to ventilate Harry and to help him breathe by properly putting a tube in his windpipe as his condition deteriorated.

Harry was born eight weeks early by emergency Caesarean section at 10pm on September 10, 2009.

He weighed just 3lbs 11oz and was taken immediately to the special care baby unit.

Sarah and husband Scott, aged 32, a mechanic who restores classic cars, had been delighted to learn she was expecting a little boy.

But she then endured a traumatic pregnancy due to a low-lying placenta, a complication known as placenta previa.

Scott spent a couple of hours with his son before his wife urged him to go home and get some rest. Neither he nor Sarah realised Harry was in difficulty.

Throughout the night, Sarah asked to see her son but was told that because of staff shortages no-one was available to take her from her bed to baby Harry.

Sarah said: “I was kept in the dark. I didn’t know Harry was fighting for his life. I’d have crawled to him on my hands and knees if I’d known. To this day, Scott and I feel like we weren’t there when he needed us.”

Harry died at 6.42am the next morning from breathing difficulties.

The Evening News reported on the tragedy and Sarah’s concerns about lack of care at the time.

Solicitor Chris Moore said: “The evidence clearly shows that there is a strong balance of probabilities that if Harry had been given the appropriate treatment he would have survived.

“This was a preventable tragedy compounded by the lack of communication with the parents.

“Mrs Wallace is traumatized by the fact she never got to hold her baby and never got to bond with him.”

Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Healthcare NHS Trust said in a statement that a settlement had been agreed in the case.

It continued: “We regret the circumstances of Harry’s death and we are sorry for the impact this has had on his family.”