Alive for 32 hours: Derbyshire family's 3-year wait for answers over baby son's death

Baby Ethan was alive for 32 hours
Baby Ethan was alive for just 32 hours Credit: ITV News Central

A family from Derbyshire say they've been waiting three long years for answers over the death of their baby son, who was alive for just 32 hours.

Ben and Jodie Blackwell from Littleover say they feel "crippled" and unable to mourn the death of baby Ethan.

He was born at Royal Derby Hospital on 21st May 2021.

Ben and Jodie with baby Ethan Credit: ITV News Central

He had significant brain damage and failed organs, which left him gasping for air and unable to open his eyes.

For the last three years, Ben and Jodie have been waiting for an inquest - this will now open next week (April 2024).

They say they want to raise awareness about the impact of baby loss while calling for real change within maternity services across the UK, including support for parents who lose babies due to medical failures."We just want to put him to rest"

Ben and Jodie say the last three years have been difficult not having answers around their son's death. Ben says:

"We've had no support, constant back-and-forth from solicitors, legal teams, how can we put him to rest ? We just want to put him to rest".

Jodie says the inquest comes six weeks before the third anniversary of Ethan’s death.

Ben and Jodie now have a one-year old daughter, Amelia, who Ethan never met.

Ben said Ethan's death has left him without trust in medical professionals, and say this was a key reason the couple opted for an elective C-section for Amelia’s birth.

A spokesperson for the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust said: "We are profoundly sorry for the shortcomings in care that Ethan and Jodie received in 2021 and our deepest condolences remain with their family.

"We are fully supporting the Coroner's enquiries for Ethan's inquest to ensure his family have full answers to their questions and concerns, and it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time until the inquest proceedings have concluded.

“We remain absolutely dedicated to making the changes we have committed to so that we continue to improve the safety of care we provide for parents and babies at our hospitals.”

The Trust says it has “fully accepted and acknowledged the failings in Ethan’s care” and said it has acted on recommendations made, after an independent investigation.

If you've been affected by the issues in this report, there are support links online.

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