Shrewsbury Maternity Scandal: Shropshire couple tell their story for the first time

A young couple from Shropshire who lost their baby as a result of failings in their maternity care have spoken for the first time about their heartbreak. Jacob, their first child together, was delivered stillborn two days after his mother was sent home from hospital, despite complaining of severe abdominal pain.

Charlotte Jackson found out she was expecting Jacob on Mother's Day in 2018. She and her partner James Harris were under the care of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust.

37 weeks into her pregnancy, Charlotte, a Type 1 diabetic, underwent a pre-Caesarian assessment at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, after discovering she was leaking fluid and had severe pain in her side.

The couple went home but two days later, after Charlotte noticed reduced movement in her womb, she returned to the hospital, underwent a scan, and was told Jacob had died.

Jacob was delivered during a three-hour operation and the couple were able to spend a short time with their son, thinking of what might have been.

The couple have reached an undisclosed settlement with Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust and in a letter to Charlotte, Trust chief executive Louise Barnett wrote: "I understand that Jacob could have been born healthy if we had arranged delivery earlier."

Almost 1900 historic cases relating to maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust are the focus of the Ockenden Review, which released an interim report last December. It highlighted numerous stillbirths that could have been avoided some mothers being blamed for infant deaths.

Ockden Review findings:

  • An “unacceptable” lack of kindness and compassion from some maternity staff

  • Families’ concerns about their care were dismissed or “not listened to at all”

  • Midwives failed to recognise when a pregnancy wasn’t progressing normally

  • Repeated failures to escalate problems to more senior staff

  • “Continuing errors” in monitoring babies’ heart beats

  • Inappropriate use of drugs, including oxytocin to speed up labour

  • A culture of reducing the number of caesarean births without considering if it was causing harm

Elanor Giblin is the couple's solicitor, she says that Charlotte and Jacob's story is tragically, just one of many.

Charlotte and James have since had a son - Ronnie-Jack, and with Noah and Elsie from previous relationships, they're a happy family. But the memory of Jacob will always be with them and they want lessons to be learnt from their personal tragedy.

Shropshire SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Deal Society) have been working alongside the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust to ensure families have access to the support they need.

Support and advice is available through the following charities:

For more information about the review:

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