Blood test could have saved my baby’s life

Steph Pennington with some of her  paperwork after winning a long battle with the NHS                                                                       	   Photo: Trevor Porter (48263)

Steph Pennington with some of her paperwork after winning a long battle with the NHS Photo: Trevor Porter (48263)

First published in News

A Warminster couple whose baby was stillborn have won a five figure out-of-court settlement from the NHS, after a midwife failed to take a blood sample to check for a virus that can lead to miscarriages.

Steph Pennington, 33, and her partner Ben Ayre, 30, are hoping to raise more awareness about parvovirus, after she contracted it when 34 weeks pregnant.

She had an appointment with her midwife at Warminster Community Hospital in March 2011, with concerns about the virus.

The midwife requested blood samples – taken six months before in September 2010 – be tested.

At 36 weeks, Ms Pennington was told by the midwife that if she had not heard anything about the blood results “they must be fine”. But when she went for a routine check-up at 38 weeks, baby Erynn’s heartbeat could not be found and she was later stillborn.

A post-mortem examination confirmed Erynn had contracted parvovirus in the womb. As Ms Pennington did not have it when she became pregnant, the midwife should have taken a fresh sample when concerns were raised.

Ms Pennington, who has a nine-year-old son, Ethan, from a previous relationship and a 15-month-old son, Jake, said: “If she had done her job, there is a chance Erynn would be here today.”

The midwife was suspended and has since been struck off, following an investigation into allegations she failed to take blood tests and fabricated evidence.

Ms Pennington said: “A consultant told me afterwards they could have given Erynn a blood transfusion or could have delivered her early and possibly saved her.”

Mr Ayre, a Warminster-based soldier, said: “The money is for the pain and suffering we have gone through.

“I have seen a lot of things in Iraq and Afghanistan, but nothing compares to seeing my daughter stillborn.”

A statement from Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “The incident relating to this case happened before Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust began providing community maternity services in 2011. Once we became responsible for this maternity service, we apolo- gised to Ms Pennington and her partner and the member of staff involved no longer works for the trust.

“All of our midwives undergo regular appraisals.”

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