Calls For Improvements To Southend Hospital After Baby's Death

The parents of a baby boy, who died after being strangled by his own umbilical cord at Southend Hospital, are calling for major improvements to be made.

Ami Solomons Hodges and her partner Russell Lee, who are from Great Wakering, have been speaking to Heart after an inquest into Frankie Hodge's death ruled it was "avoidable".

Frankie died less than an hour after he was born on March 29th last year, after his umbilical cord became wrapped around his neck, starving him of oxygen.

An internal investigation carried out by Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust found a catalogue of failings in the lead up to his death. It said staff didn't interpret his heart monitor trace properly during labour and that the fact Frankie's delivery happened during a shift handover was a contributory factor to his death.

Ms Solomons Hodges told Heart the last 10 months have been devastating. She said: "We were just excited for something nice to happen and then everything went wrong."

She was taken to hospital on March 29th with ruptured membranes, and was told she needed an emergency caesarean. The investigation found there were then serious failings in care.

The inquest last week heard that a "more timely intervention would probably have resulted in a better outcome" and that Baby Frankie would `"probably have survived".

As well as coming to terms with the loss of her first child, Ms Solomons Hodges was also dealing with the death of her mum. She told Heart: "March is going to be a strange month forever I think. My mum suddenly died on the 8th -  she was only 52, and then we went through the strange thing you do when you're grieving for someone and all hang out together.

"We were all looking forward to a birth, thinking we have something nice coming in a couple of weeks, and then three weeks later I went into labour and the baby died."

Although the hospital has implemented some recommendations for improvement from their internal report, the family wants assurances that all steps have been taken to ensure that the same mistakes aren't made again. They are also demanding a formal apology.

Medical Director at Southend Hospital Mr Neil Rothnie said: “We would again like to extend our sincere condolences to baby Frankie’s parents for their tragic loss. The Trust has carried out a thorough investigation into the circumstances of Frankie’s death and those findings were shared with the family and Coroner ahead of the Inquest.

"The Trust have implemented a number of positive changes since Frankie’s birth, and worked to ensure all clinical staff have and continue to undergo enhanced CTG* training focusing on interpreting changes in CTG tracing, which, as recognised by the Coroner’s expert in the case of Frankie was particularly difficult.

"We appreciate the Inquest was very difficult for Frankie’s family and we would like to assure them that lessons have been learnt from this very tragic case"

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