Portsmouth parents who lost their baby in traumatic birth say inquest does bring some closure

THE PARENTS of a seven-day-old baby who died in their arms after a traumatic birth have said an inquest has brought their family some closure.

By Millie Salkeld
Wednesday, 6th November 2019, 4:07 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th November 2019, 10:05 pm

Charlene and Matthew Knight were left devastated last year on June 25 when their son Albert died in Queen Alexandra Hospital due to brain damage following a breech birth at their home in Portsmouth.

Mum Charlene said: ‘This inquest has been hanging over our heads for 16 months and we are glad it is over. We have got some answers about what happened but we knew the coroner was limited in what he could conclude.’

Portsmouth Coroner’s Court heard from a number of QA doctors, paramedics who were at the scene, midwives and medical experts to try and understand the tragedy after Ms Knight raised concerns at the hospital in Cosham on June 17 over a sudden lack of movement from her unborn baby.

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The Coroner's Court - in Guildhall Square, Portsmouth

She was sent home by doctors with a Caesarean booked in for the following week but the mum-to-be went into labour and paramedics rushed to deliver Albert who came out legs first.

The seven-day-old spent a week on life support but died from hypoxia due to a lack of oxygen to Albert’s brain.

Throughout the inquest there was dispute over whether the right decisions had been made over Ms Knight’s care.

Deputy coroner Lincoln Brookes concluded a narrative conclusion after deciding a short-form conclusion of natural causes would not fully sum up the circumstances that led to the youngster’s death.

He said: ‘On June 25, 2018, at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, baby Albert Matthew Knight died from un-survivable hypoxia-ischemia brain injuries sustained during or slightly before his unplanned emergency breech birth at home on June 18, 2018.’

Coroner Brookes went on to describe the birth as ‘precipitous and rapid’ with no concerns of the care from paramedics or midwives involved.

Albert’s dad Matthew, 39, added: ‘The paramedics should have never been put in that position because we should have stayed in hospital when we had concerns. We have never had an apology from QA about what happened to our son.’

Charlene, 36, added: ‘The neo-natal team were amazing and allowed us to have a week with Albert.

‘We still have questions to ask but we need to decide whether we take it further because we were deprived of our son.’

Liz Rix, chief nurse at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said: ‘Our thoughts are with the parents and family of baby Albert at this incredibly sad time and our heartfelt condolences are with everyone affected.

‘The safety of expectant mothers and their babies is always our absolute priority. We have carried out an internal investigation and commissioned an independent review to ensure that all learnings have been actioned.’