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Families demand answers in births of brain-damaged babies.

Byline: By Sarah Probert

The parents of two babies born severely brain damaged at a Midland hospital have called for an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding their births.

The families said that during both incidents at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, the babies suffered oxygen deprivation and were born with severe brain damage within two weeks of each other.

Mothers Cheryl Dickens and Kerry Luke from Telford, said they had concerns about delays in the birth which they believe led to complications.

The pair have questioned the use of Cardiotocograph (CTG) traces, a form of ultrasound used to monitor the baby's heartbeat, and abnormalities they may have shown up.

They are calling for an inquiry to establish whether hospital staff have been retrained following the incidents in November and December 2004.

In the first case, Ms Dickens said a delay in the delivery of her son Cameron on November 25, 2004, resulted in brain damage as a result of lack of oxygen.

Two weeks later Ms Luke was referred to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital with high blood pressure. She said CTG monitoring showed abnormalities and her daughter Abbie was born by emergency Caesarean section on December 7 and later diagnosed with a very severe form of cerebral palsy.

Last night Ms Luke's partner and Abbie's father Michael Everitt said: "We don't know what to expect from one day to the next and she has been given a life expectancy of about two years."

Louise Hunt, of solicitors Alexander Harris, who is representing the two families, said: "We are anxious to find out whether changes have been made within the unit since December 2004. We are calling for an inquiry so we can rest assured that changes have been made."

The firm said it had written to the Healthcare Commission and the Shropshire and Staffordshire Strategic Health Authority calling for an inquiry.

Julie Buckley, corporate management director of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said: "We are concerned that the solicitors in this case did not approach the trust to raise these concerns.

"We can't comment on individual cases but we do have robust systems in place for the

training of staff and we regularly have external validations of these systems. All our staff have training every six months with CTG systems."

A spokeswoman for the Healthcare Commission said it had received correspondence from Alexander Harris but no decision had been made on an inquiry.

sarah_probert@mrn.co.uk
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Mar 28, 2006
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