Women wrongly told unborn babies were dead

Hospital bosses have apologised after two pregnant women were wrongly told that their unborn babies were dead during routine scans, it was disclosed today.

Joanna Barro, 25, was told by staff at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton that they could not detect a foetal heartbeat when she went for a scan while eight weeks pregnant with her first child.



She was advised to go home and let the miscarriage procedure take its course. She returned for a follow-up scan a week later as she refused to accept her baby was dead, and learned there was a heartbeat.



Miss Barro went on to give birth seven months later to healthy 7lb 4oz Ruby, who will be three in February.



Her case echoes that of Sofia Taylor, 22, who refused to accept her baby was dead at nine weeks in August at the same hospital and demanded a second scan which showed her pregnancy was progressing normally.



Today hospital officials reassured pregnant women in the area, saying these were isolated cases of human error which happened more than three years apart.



But Miss Barro vowed never to have another child at the same hospital, saying staff should have been 100% sure before telling her that her unborn child was dead.



Speaking from her home in Telscombe Cliffs, she said: "When they told me that Ruby didn't have a heartbeat I just cried and cried.



"Their words to me were, 'It's dead, she has miscarried, there is no heartbeat'. They sent me home with a miscarriage letter and told me to let nature take its course.



"I had really wanted a baby for ages so I didn't want to believe that I had lost it. It didn't seem real. Call it a mother's instinct, but I didn't believe she was dead.



"I thought having a miscarriage would be painful but I didn't get any of that."



After learning there was a heartbeat a week later, the single mother said she felt a mixture of happiness, confusion and anger.



"They shouldn't have told me I had miscarried without being 100% sure," she said. "They just need to sort it out because if I had not had a second scan I would have terminated Ruby.



"The hospital may say these are only isolated cases but there may be other mothers-to-be who may have terminated their babies when they needn't have."



She added that the whole saga has made her an overprotective mother. She said: "Ruby is my miracle. In my eyes I have already lost her once and I don't want to again."



Mrs Taylor, from Peacehaven, said it was "mother's intuition" that prompted her to demand a second scan at the same hospital.



"I insisted on having another test," she told the Daily Mail.



"They weren't happy about it and said I really should have a termination. If I had listened to them I would have lost my baby. It doesn't bear thinking about."



Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust said it carries out 6,000 scans a year and its safety record is in the best 5% nationally.



In a letter sent to Mrs Taylor and her husband last month, trust chief executive Duncan Selbie said hospital bosses "profoundly apologise".



He said: "Human error of this sort is extremely unusual within the service and we have gone to some lengths already to investigate how this came about and to ensure that our processes and policies are sufficient so that we can be confident that a mistake of this nature will not happen again."



In a statement relating to Miss Barro, Mr Selbie said: "We have reviewed Ms Barro's notes which show that in 2007 she had a scan where we were not able to detect a heartbeat and she was advised that she had lost her pregnancy.



"In such cases we always give women the option of going home to let nature take its course, and return for a repeat scan in a week's time.



"This is what happened with Ms Barro and thankfully, at the second scan, a heartbeat was detected.



"We carry out 6,000 scans a year and our safety record is in the best 5% nationally, which is not to say that we don't make mistakes, but that they are very rare, we always act on them and apologise when we do.



"I am extremely sorry for the distress this must have caused Ms Barro in the early stages of her pregnancy."

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
News
peopleComedian launches stinging attack on PM
Life and Style
The collection displayed Versace’s softer side, with models wearing flowers and chiffon dresses in unusual colourings
fashionVersace haute couture review
Arts and Entertainment
'The Leaf'
artYes, it's a leaf, but a potentially very expensive one
News
Yoko Ono at the Royal Festival Hall for Double Fantasy Live
people'I wont let him destroy memory of John Lennon or The Beatles'
News
Could Greece leave the EU?
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

    Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

    £27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

    Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

    £16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

    £17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'