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Parents of Alyssa Rose speak of loss and fight to be heard

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The Hucknall parents of the tragic tot at the centre of the medical inquest fear hospital bosses have failed to learn lessons from the death of their newborn baby.

Karen, 37, and Sion Legg, 30, spoke of their devastation, following the inquest held last Thursday, at losing their first child Alyssa Rose, aged just seven days, after serious failings in her mother’s labour were highlighted during the hearing.

The coroner concluded that with better obstetric management it is likely that Alyssa Rose would not have died.

An internal review by Nottingham University Hospital Trust found that a delay in delivering the couple’s daughter at Nottingham City Hospital contributed to her death.

Mrs Legg criticised the treatment she received at the hospital and said she was disappointed the inquest did not hear evidence from the clinicians managing her labour who would have shed more light on a series of alleged blunders.

In a statement issued at the end of the hearing at Nottingham Coroners Court, Mr and Mrs Legg described how they feared she was suffering complications when her waters broke on 9th July last year, and begged medics to intervene.

But it was not until more than 24 hours later that a doctor ordered a C-section and discovered Alyssa Rose was fighting for her life. She died seven days later.

“This inquest was the opportunity to expose the failings in my case and ask the questions that nobody is answering,” said Mrs Legg. “But we feel it was a missed opportunity to learn the lessons from my case.

“From the outset I felt I wasn’t listened to, and my concerns were ignored by hospital staff with devastating consequences. 

“I was never out for people’s blood, I didn’t want people to lose their job, I just wanted them to assure us that lessons would be learnt.

“I feel like the hospital has tried to stay on this dogged path so I’ll be quiet and go away. But that simply is not going to happen. It took me nine years to conceive Alyssa Rose. She was an incredibly precious baby to us.” 

Mrs Legg had had four courses of fertility treatment during the nine years trying to conceive, but she fell pregnant with Alyssa Rose naturally.

She says she should have been identified as a high risk pregnancy because she had been diagnosed with endometriosis – a condition affecting the lining of the womb – and was identified as having Group B streptococcus – a bacteria which can cause complications for newborn babies.

The pregnancy had gone well overdue and Mrs Legg’s waters had broken early with discolouration, a known risk factor.  In addition Mrs Legg had a low platelet count causing concern for her own health.

But despite the warning signs, Mrs Legg claims hospital staff were not vigilant to possible complications.

Mrs Legg added: “Alyssa Rose was a natural baby who came out of the blue. When we found out I was expecting we were overjoyed. It was a fantastic pregnancy, no morning sickness, no problems with anything. I absolutely adored being pregnant.

“Everybody used to laugh at me because I forever had my hand on my stomach feeling her moving around. I was forever stroking her. Sion was so looking forward to being a father. But everything seems to have gone wrong in the last 24 hours.

“The post-mortem examination proved that my daughter was perfectly healthy. She was a big baby at 8lbs 10oz. They couldn’t find a single thing wrong with her other than the fact she was brain dead. And that was simply because they wouldn’t intervene and do a C-section. The doctor kept saying we’ll leave it another half an hour.

“I have been told staff followed protocol. I can only think this protocol must be wrong then.

“All we’ve ever wanted to achieve since is to stop this tragedy from happening to anyone else. The medical staff need to listen to, and act on, the concerns of mothers, they need to be more alert to potential complications.

“If you speak to people in the hospital, all they can say is ‘well, we’re one of the best in the country, the stats show that’. But that’s no consolation for us. And we suspect that the stats only show that because people don’t complain.”

Mrs Legg is now considering pursuing a civil claim against the hospital.

Her lawyer Rachel Brown, of Slater and Gordon, said: “Mrs Legg is a remarkable woman who is determined that any failings in her care are not repeated and that no other mother and family has to go through the torment and heartache that she has.

“She was clearly a high-risk and her concerns should have been listened to, but it appears her care fell well short of what anyone should expect.”

Despite their experiences leading up to their daughter’s birth, Mr and Mrs Legg praised staff at the hospital’s neonatal department for their sensitivity and care.

She said: “Thanks to the wonderful staff on the neonatal ward, Sion and I managed to get many precious memories of Alyssa Rose because of their suggestions and they had someone come in and take photographs.

“At the time, it’s not something we would have even thought about. Obviously our minds were elsewhere. They really made an effort – even letting a woman come in and take casts of Alyssa Rose’s hand and foot. They were so good with both us and Alyssa Rose.

“We can now look back on those photos of us with her and can cherish those moments.”

 

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