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Maidstone mum whose baby died three days after birth says she wasn't listened to by midwives at the Tunbridge Wells Hospital


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A heartbroken mother whose baby died three days after birth claims midwives 'rudely' dismissed her concerns and is considering taking legal action.

Maidstone parents Elena Sala, 20, and David Matthews, 28, lost their first daughter in November last year after a traumatic experience at the Tunbridge Wells Hospital in Pembury, near Tunbridge Wells.

Maidstone couple David Matthews and partner Elena Sala with Rosanna
Maidstone couple David Matthews and partner Elena Sala with Rosanna

Elena, who was 19 at the time, gave birth to daughter Rosanna by emergency caesarean section after six hours of "agony".

Tragically, baby Rosanna died three days later after being in a coma from birth.

But her parents think she would still be alive today if it wasn't for the way some staff conducted themselves, claiming the midwives, were "rude and disrespectful" and didn't listen to her.

The former barmaid and Mascalls student said she had sepsis when she gave birth and alleged staff didn't listen to her when she said she needed to push, were "snappy and bickering" with one another, while an independent report found there was a failure to escalate her case to a senior clinical member of staff.

She said: "We held her before she was going to die. They told us she was about to die and to say goodbye, and she took her last breath while in David's arms.

Rosanna Claire Matthews died after being born at the Tunbridge Wells Hospital
Rosanna Claire Matthews died after being born at the Tunbridge Wells Hospital

"I've never experienced death before, this was my first time. We were in a really dark place after her death until we found out I was pregnant again with Lola, who is now six weeks old.

"Our lives were like a long dark tunnel, but she was the light inside it. We both decided to get out of that dark place to be the best parents for her.

"We had her at Medway as I refused to go back to the other place again and they were brilliant."

Speaking about the traumatic experience at the Tunbridge Wells hospital, Elena said: "The way I was treated as disgusting. I was disregarded and disrespected for being a young, first-time mum. Nobody listened or believed me when I said something was wrong or I wanted to push.

"The whole experience was powerful, but not in a good way, the grief we felt after was surreal. Everything about it was surreal.

Maidstone couple David Matthews and Elena Sala with their daughter Lola at Rosanna's grave
Maidstone couple David Matthews and Elena Sala with their daughter Lola at Rosanna's grave

"We were living at our parents at the time and had everything set up for Rosanna - clothes, beds, the lot, and we had to return home to it.

"It was too much for us and eventually we had to move out as everything was there dragging us down."

The Maidstone mum claimed she had been told by a consultant at the hospital things could've been different if Rosanna was delivered just seven minutes earlier.

"I 100% believe if the midwives had done their job differently and she was here seven minutes earlier, she would be alive.

"She was a healthy baby the whole way through my pregnancy."

'If the midwives had done their job differently and she was here seven minutes earlier, she would be alive...'

The family are now considering legal action against the hospital after their loss, but are waiting for the results of an inquest into baby Rosanna's death, which will be heard on Thursday.

Elena said David, a binman in the town, was really affected by the ordeal after his daughter died in his arms after being transferred to Medway hospital, which was "brilliant".

A report by the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) found there was a failure to escalate monitoring after Elena made clear she had urges to push.

There was also a failure to recognise the Cardiotocography (CTG) trace, which monitors foetal heart rate and contractions, was abnormal and a failure to urgently escalate the case to a senior obstetrician after her pulse was found to be 130 beats per minute.

It also suggested that when Elena's temperature spiked during labour, she should have been treated with a “bundle of medical therapies" known as the “Sepsis 6”.

Elena Sala and David Matthews, from Maidstone, with six-week-old Lola
Elena Sala and David Matthews, from Maidstone, with six-week-old Lola

The HSIB outlined eight recommendations for the trust:

To support staff to use local guidance in helping to recognise when there are concerns with the fetal heart rate.

Ensure staff are supported when carrying out intermittent auscultation - getting the sound of the baby's heart - in labouring mothers, to undertake a documented hourly whole clinical picture assessment with a second independent practitioner.

When there is evidence of progression to the second stage of labour, staff increase the frequency of intermittent auscultation in line with national guidance.

To ensure that staff complete, in full the partogram - a graph of key data during labour - from admission to the baby’s birth, in line with local guidance.

Ensure a holistic approach that takes into account the risk factors for both the mother and the baby, as well as the stage and progress in labour, is adopted when making any management decisions.

Ensure that if a mother is to have an instrumental delivery, that pain relief is adequate prior to delivery attempts.

A robust system in place to guarantee that the urgency of an instrumental delivery is communicated effectively between all teams involved in a mother’s care.

The Trust should ensure that staff are aware of the importance of using a structured communication tool, and this should be recorded in a mother’s clinical record.

A full inquest into Rosanna's death will be heard at Maidstone's Archbishop's Palace on Thursday.

The Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust is not able to comment yet, as it is awaiting the details of the inquest.

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