Worksop couple whose baby died at hospital demand answers after critical report 'hushed up'

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A Worksop couple whose baby died tragically at Doncaster Royal Infirmary are calling for answers after the trust running the hospital was accused of hushing up a critical maternity services report.

Parents Beth and Daniel Wankiewicz are awaiting details of an inquest after the loss of their baby son Clay in July 2020 at the DRI, after it came to light that there had been a review of the hospital, where son Clay was born, by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in 2016.

It has never been published by the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals.

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Doncaster Royal Infirmary. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP DRI MC 2Doncaster Royal Infirmary. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP DRI MC 2
Doncaster Royal Infirmary. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP DRI MC 2

The report emerged as part of a BBC Panorama investigation, and the couple’s lawyer, Natalie Cosgrove, of the Sheffield based legal firm switalskis, said the family was now aware that the report highlighted deficiencies in the standard of service provided by maternity services across the trust.

She said: “The guidance was to make this document available to the public and the trust have chosen not to.

"The family believe that the trust had the tools to enact change and had this happened in 2016 or 2017, the outcome for Clay could have been different.”

The couple, from Worksop, initially planned a home birth, but because of complications were advised to go to hospital.

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All the trust’s maternity services were in Doncaster at the time as part of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

After trying unsuccessfully to deliver Clay with forceps, he was born by Caesarean section.

Ms Cosgrove said he was born with a very slow heartbeat, and an efforts to resuscitate Clay were unsuccessful.

She said: “Like many bereaved parents, Beth and Daniel now want answers to the questions they have about the causes of Clay’s death.

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"On such a difficult, distressing day it was hard for them to know what to do for the best, so they put their trust in the medical professionals they dealt with.

"Although they know that nothing will bring Clay back, they are determined to get those answers and help other parents to avoid the unnecessary heartbreak they have experienced. As well as the inquest.”

David Purdue, chief nurse and deputy chief executive, at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals, said: “We wish to offer our deepest sympathies to the family of baby Clay Wankiewicz

"Following Clay’s very sad passing, the trust made a referral to the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch, who started an investigation into the care provided and their findings have been shared with the Trust, Clay’s family and Her Majesty’s Coroner.

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"As an inquest will soon be held we are unable to comment further at this time.

“The provision and delivery of high quality maternity services is our number one priority.

"Following the invited report from the Royal College in 2016, we shared the executive summary, recommendations and action plans with our regulators, partners and staff and have completed all of the actions.”

The hospital's staffing includes a consultant, with on-call arrangements, specialist obstetrician, junior doctor, midwives, support workers and students at all times.

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The trust says if individuals have any concerns with the care it provides, it strongly encourages them to raise this with them, and with the relevant regulators and agencies so the matter can be investigated fully and appropriately.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Sam Jackson, editor.