Tracy Godwin, 34, cradled her newborn son Tom in her arms until he died because a hospital in Scotland has a policy that it will not revive prematurely-born babies before 23 weeks because it considers their chance of surviving too low.
No workers at Southend Hospital tried to resuscitate him or comfort her. Godwin tells the London Daily Mail newspaper about her son Tom, who was delivered 22 weeks and two days into pregnancy in March 2010. The report, coming to light just now, focuses on the hospital policy of not resuscitating babies born under 23 weeks.
Godwin tells the paper that staff did not explain the hospital policy at the time, and she only learned of it six weeks after her baby boy died.
Now, Godwin has finally received an apology from the hospital — four years after the fact. She tells the Daily Mail she would have gone to another hospital had she known Southend had such a policy in place at the time she gave birth.
‘It has been an incredibly difficult four years since the death of my baby boy in horrendous circumstances,’ she said.
‘I have finally received an apology and the coroner has found that the trust failed in its care of me and my baby. This ordeal has brought about significant change at the hospital, and the fact that no other mother will go through what I went through is a positive I will cherish.
‘I want mothers-to-be up and down the country to be aware of my case and the fact that each trust has its own guidelines.’
She was put in a private room at Southend Hospital and when staff told her the baby might arrive early she begged them to do everything they could to keep it alive. After three days a midwife broke her waters with what Miss Godwin believes was a large pair of scissors and she gave birth to her 1lb son shortly afterwards.
Describing the traumatic experience, she said: ‘They put him in my arms and he cried and was wriggling around. I could feel him breathing and see his eyelashes and toes.
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‘But I kept thinking, “Where’s the incubator?” We were begging the midwives to do something to help him but no one was saying anything. He was not stillborn, he was trying to live.
‘If they had tried for an hour and said they couldn’t do anything more for him or he was severely brain-damaged that would have been different, but he wasn’t given a chance.’