In South Wales, the chief executive of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, Adam Caims, has personally apologized to a grieving mother who lost her premature infant because medical staff refused to treat him.
In December 2013, Riley Goodger died 90 minutes after his mother, Emma Jones, had given birth at Cardiff’s University Hospital. Initially, Goodger was breathing on his own but medical personnel said they were unable to help him because he was only 22-weeks-old. Currently in Wales, that is eight days before the abortion cut-off and life-saving measures aren’t usually taken unless a baby is born after 24-weeks.
Now Jones and her boyfriend, Chris Goodger, are asking for hospitals to change their medical guidelines so babies born after 22-weeks are given proper medical care.
According to Wales Online, Jones said she wants pediatricians to review and weigh every baby born after 22-weeks so parents and clinicians can make informed decisions based on their chance of survival. In fact, she handed in a 2,759-signature petition into the Assembly’s Petitions Committee to demand that these new protocols are implemented.
After Caims met with Jones he said, “Everybody at the health board extended their deepest sympathies and were sorry to hear of the distress experienced by Miss Jones. We were pleased to meet with Miss Jones and her father to explore her concerns.”
He concluded, “Thankfully, events like this happen infrequently. But when they do occur, they are very traumatic for the mother, her family and everyone involved. We are delighted that Emma has agreed to work with us to develop a protocol to support both families and clinical staff in these difficult circumstances. Together we will address how we handle these situations and ensure that we make the right choices and learn from this sad event.”
Miss Jones said: “I was happy to receive an official apology from the chief executive of the health board.
“I was guaranteed a change in procedure so that other mums in my situation won’t be ignored or forgotten about in the future.
“We agreed to set procedures in place so that a baby’s condition is clearly noted to parents, and the options and outcomes for that baby are clearly discussed.
“I’ve also been assured that suitable aftercare would be set up for parents who have to deal with their babies dying.
“It will be hard work for me as I will regularly have to speak to midwives and consultants, but it feels as though I’m making a contribution to the new procedure.
“I am still campaigning for a change in the law on gestation dates from 24 weeks to 22 weeks.”
Research shows the vast majority of babies who are born before they hit the 23-week period are likely to have severe disabilities. The chances of them dying at home is also very high.
Miss Jones, a supermarket employee, has now had a pioneering operation in May on her cervix to improve her chances of giving birth after the 24-week cut-off period.