'Why has it taken so many babies?' - Grieving families react to damning East Kent maternity report

Dozens of babies died or were left brain damaged by poor care at one of England’s largest NHS trusts.

The families of babies who died unnecessarily at hospitals in East Kent say 'things have got to change' as a report outlined serious failings within maternity services run by the trust.

Dr Bill Kirkup published a report into maternity and neonatal services at East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on Wednesday, which runs hospitals including QEQM Hospital in Margate and the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.

The report found out of 202 cases reviewed by the experts, the outcome could have been different in 97 of those cases.

Speaking at a press conference at Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone, Danielle Clark, mother to Noah described the difficult labour and birth she went through at QEQM: "I had a son in 2013, I was induced but the reason I was induced was never communicated.

"The induction then took three days, I should have been offered an emergency C-section, but instead they gave me too much induction gel, over the Nice (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines.

  • Danielle Clark says she wouldn't even put her own dog in that hospital for care.

"He ended up in special care, in resuscitation. At eight weeks old he had to have emergency surgery because things had been missed, he wasn't gaining weight he was dying in front of our eyes basically."

Responding to the Kirkup report, Danielle Clark, mother to Noah whose case was part of the inquiry, said: "People need to be held accountable. Things have got to change, babies are dying just through bad care and pure neglect.

"Midwives at the moment are short staffed but it's almost like they're treating every patient as textbook material, but anybody who has any sense knows no patient is textbook.

"I wouldn't say I've got closure because having experienced neglect again eight years later with the birth of my third son last year, it's very infuriating to think things still haven't changed."

  • Erika Emery-Madiro lost her son at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford in 2012.

Lyn Richardson represents the Rebecca Foundation after her daughter committed suicide eight months after giving birth in 2017.

She said: "Rebecca was treated badly, patronised and confronted within minutes of actually giving birth. It was just heartbreaking.

"I've only got so much energy left now because of the grief and the trauma that I experienced when we lost Rebecca and we've got to use that now to say enough is enough."

"We have to see improvements. It's not changes, not differences. Improvements is what we are campaigning for."

  • Bex Walton's son died in her own arms in November 2020.

Bex Walton gave birth to her son in November 2020 at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.

He was born with neonatal sepsis and extensive pneumonia.

Bex said: "I had a baby that was struggling to breathe.

"I had a really nasty infection, but I was told he was perfect and healthy from numerous midwifes.

"I hope this doesn't happen to other families, but why has it taken so many babies, why has it taken so many years?

"Why would they change now?"