Baby deaths at hospital

Two babies died at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire because staff failed to wash their hands properly.

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Mother: Jessica was "my beautiful little dot"

The mother of 11 day old Jessica Strong who died at North Staffordshire Hospital told the inquest into her death her version of events.

11 day old Jessica Strong who died at University of North Staffordshire Hospital Credit: Newsteam

43 year-old Annette Strong said her daughter had been doing well and there was talk of her going home:

"Then I got a call that she had deteriorated and they had resuscitated her._ I rushed back to the hospital and the day before she died I had her baptised. I was at her cot-side and she had her eyes wide open and seemed to recognise my voice._

Craig and Annette Strong, Jessica's parents Credit: Newsteam

"But by then it was clear she would not make it so I gave her a last cuddle. She was my beautiful little dot."

North Staffordshire Hospital have apologised after the inquest found poor hand hygiene caused the death of two babies.

Hospital sincerely apologises for baby deaths

University Hospital of North Staffordshire Credit: University Hospital of North Staffordshire

A Trust spokesman said: “The Trust would like to offer its sincere condolences to the family of Jessica Strong.

A deep clean of the Neonatal Intensive Care was performed at the time and we reviewed infection prevention practice immediately with assistance from the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

There have been no new cases of infection or of babies carrying the organism since the initial cases were first identified in July.

The Trust made an early admission of liability regarding the care that Jessica Strong received.

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"Clear breakdown in hand hygiene practice" at hospital

Lead infection control nurse Emyr Phillips added: "While previous audits on the unit going back years showed excellent results, there was a clear breakdown in hand hygiene practice which could have been caused by staff or parents."

Recording a narrative verdict, Mr Smith said: "Death was from extreme prematurity and infection spread by hand contact."

An inquest has yet to be held into the other baby who died at 22 days old. After the hearing, Jessica's mother Annette said: "It shouldn't have taken two deaths to have the new hygiene steps put in place, it's disgraceful and upsetting."

Deaths of babies "a wake-up call"

Staff from the hospital's neonatal unit told coroner Ian Smith they were devastated they may have contributed to the deaths.

Neonatologist Dr Kate Palmer, who was responsible for Jessica before she became infected, said: "This has very much hurt the staff but it has been a wake-up call and brought a sea-change in attitude and culture to infection which now permeates everything we do."

Mother got baby baptised before she died

Jessica's mother Annette, 43, told the hearing: "She had been doing so well, staff were trying to transfer her home."

"Then I got a call that she had deteriorated and they had resuscitated her. I rushed back to the hospital and the day before she died I had her baptised. I was at her cot-side and she had her eyes wide open and seemed to recognise my voice.

But by then it was clear she would not make it so I gave her a last cuddle. She was my beautiful little dot."

Baby deaths at University Hospital of North Staffordshire

The first baby along with three others suffered no symptoms but Jessica and another baby, who has not yet been named, died after contracting the bug.

North Staffordshire Coroner's Court heard that despite being born three months prematurely, Jessica was doing well in the first few days of her short life.

But when her condition started to deteriorate blood tests found traces of the infection - which is found in the stomachs and bowels of children. Just 12 hours later and despite two blood transfusions Jessica died on June 30 after the bug went through her spleen, lungs and brain.

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Babies died at hospital because "staff failed to wash their hands"

Two newborn babies died at a brand new "super-hospital" after contracting a rare killer bug because staff and visitors failed to wash their hands properly, an inquest heard.

Jessica Strong was 11 days old when she died from an infection at the £400 million University Hospital of North Staffordshire after a "breakdown in hand hygiene".

An inquest heard how an outbreak Serratia Marcescens swept through the neonatal ward in June last year affecting six premature children.

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