St Neots mum's torment goes on after baby death

A YOUNG woman whose baby was still born has described how she was kept waiting for five hours in A&E – and since the baby s death has received letters inviting her to ante-natal appointments and to register the birth. Shelley Greene, 20, a graphic design

A YOUNG woman whose baby was still born has described how she was kept waiting for five hours in A&E - and since the baby's death has received letters inviting her to ante-natal appointments and to register the birth.

Shelley Greene, 20, a graphic design student from St Neots, said she knew something was wrong on Christmas Eve when her first baby - due to be born in April - had stopped moving.

"I felt ill. I had pains in my chest as if I had hurt my ribs. I went to the health centre in Eaton Socon and they told me it was heartburn."

Unconvinced, Shelley went to the drop-in health centre in St Neots later the same day.

"They said they hadn't got the equipment to hear the baby's heart so I went to A&E at Hinchingbrooke Hospital. I was kept waiting there for five hours and the first consultant I saw shouted at me because I was crying and he said it was making the baby move so he got a false reading."

Eventually, at 8pm on Christmas Eve, Shelley was taken to the delivery ward at Hinchingbrooke where she was told her baby daughter was dead. She returned on Christmas Day to have drugs to induce the birth and baby Chloe Mai was born on Boxing Day.

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Shelley said: "I could not fault the care I had in the maternity ward - two of the midwives even came to the funeral."

However, administrative errors at the hospital and the registrars office have not helped the situation.

The day after the baby's funeral, which took place on Friday, January 22, Shelley received two letters from Hinchingbrooke inviting her for a routine ante-natal appointment and her 30-week scan.

A week later, last Saturday, she received another letter, this time from Huntingdon Register Officer enquiring as to why she had not registered her baby's birth.

She and her partner, Ben Cook, an engineer also 20, been to Huntingdon Register Office on New Year's Eve to register their daughter's birth and death.

Shelley's mother Jillian said: "We had to register the death in order to hold the funeral. I have since phoned the register office and spoken to the woman who signed the certificate. She said it was her fault, she took full responsibility and has apologised - although not in writing. We have had no explanation from the hospital - they have said they are looking into it."

She added: "You can't blame a computer for these letters. Someone has to print them and put them into an envelope, a computer can't do that."

Shelley said it was particularly upsetting to receive a letter inviting her for her 30-week scan on Monday (February 1) - a reminder that she should still have been carrying a baby girl.

"I don't think I am the only person this has happened to. When I received the first letter I was upset but I would have just left it but after the third letter I had enough and decided I would have to do something."

Ben said: "We just want to know that this is not going to happen to anyone else - that's the main message."

Jim Milne, on behalf of Cambridgeshire Registration Service, said: "We apologise sincerely to the family for the letter, which was sent in error. The registration officer involved has apologised personally to the family, through the grandmother, for any distress caused.

"This year we have dealt with nearly 13,500 registrations and a mistake of this nature is very rare indeed."

Dr Richard Dickinson, medical director at Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust, said: "We are saddened to hear of Miss Greene's experience in the A&E department and by the loss of her baby and we have apologised unreservedly to her for the distress caused by receiving the scan and antenatal letters.

"This was an administrative error which is extremely regrettable and we have now put steps in place to ensure that this does not happen again.

"We are investigating the further complaints regarding this patient's treatment and would ask that she contacts us directly to discuss this further.

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