Newborn Baby Died After Hospital Mistook Labour Pains For Constipation And Branded Mum A “Time-Waster”

Joanne Farrar's daughter Ava. A grieving mum whose baby died when bungling medics mistook her labour pains for CONSTIPATION has received a payout from the NHS.

A grieving mum whose baby died when bungling medics mistook her labour pains for CONSTIPATION has received a payout from the NHS.

Joanne Farrar, 41, was rushed to hospital just days before her planned C-section after suffering severe agony and discomfort on July 7, 2014.

But doctors claimed the pains were a result of an infection and constipation – and even dismissed her as a “time-waster”.

She decided to go to the toilet to prove she wasn’t constipated and her labour was confirmed after she passed blood at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, Greater Manchester.

Little Ava, was born later in the day, but just two hours later she had to be transferred to Royal Oldham Hospital after suffering seizures.

Joanne Farrar with daughter Ava.

It was later revealed the tot had severe brain damage and Joanne and husband James were forced to make the heart-breaking decision to turn off their baby daughter’s life support machine on July 12, 2014.

A post-mortem revealed the tot had been deprived of oxygen and, despite concluding that she died of natural causes, a coroner slammed the hospital for failing to consider “the most blindly obvious point” that Joanne was in labour.

After recruiting specialist lawyers Irwin Mitchell to investigate, she has now received a undisclosed payout and apology from the hospital.

Joanne Farrar holds hands with daughter Ava.

Joanne, of Ashbourne,, Derbs., said: “I did everything I was told by hospital staff, so was stunned when I had some issues with them.

“At one point I overheard a doctor refusing to examine me and calling me a ‘time-waster’, while it was also suggested that I have a natural birth despite the issues with my previous pregnancies.

“It was an incredibly upsetting time.

“Having had two children already, I knew what I was experiencing was undoubtedly labour.

“I managed to get myself to hospital and told the doctors and midwives, but they claimed it was just a urinary tract infection.

“To make matters worse, when tests came back clear I was then told I was constipated and given medication for it.

“I was in utter disbelief as no one was listening to me.

“We faced the decision of having to turn Ava’s life support off and it was the hardest thing that James and I have ever done.

“I felt like I had given up on my baby and remain devastated that I had to do it in the first place.

“I cannot help but think that if I had been treated somewhere other than Stepping Hill this may not have happened.

“Ava was never given a chance at life and to spend time with her brother and sister and this remains incredibly hard to take.

“All I wish is that someone had taken me seriously and listened to what I was saying.

“My only wish at this point is that, following our legal action, steps have been taken to ensure no other families face the same horrible ordeal that we have been through.”

Joanne was considered to be a high-risk pregnancy, having had to give birth to her first child Bobby, nine, by emergency caesarean.

Joanne Farrar’s daughter Ava

Her second child Izzy, six, was born by planned caesarean, and the Joanna had planned to give birth to Ava by the same method on July 12 2014.

Her waters ruptured 30 weeks into the pregnancy, and she was required to go to monitoring twice a week to monitor the health of her and her child.

In a letter, Ann Barnes, chief executive of the Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, told Joanne: “I deeply regret that the standard of care that your daughter received was inadequate and I would like to take this time to express my deepest sympathy on the loss of your daughter and the distress that this and subsequent investigations have caused you and your family.”

A spokesperson for the trust added: “We failed to provide a reasonable standard of antenatal care for Joanne and baby Ava and for that we are deeply sorry.

“We launched an immediate investigation afterwards, to ensure that something like this does not happen again.

“We would like to take this opportunity to repeat our sincere apologies, sympathy and condolences.”

Joanne Farrar’s daughter Ava.

Gayle Palmer, legal expert at Irwin Mitchell, who represented the family, said: “This is a truly devastating case in which a couple have lost their daughter as a result of circumstances which simply should never have happened.

“More than three years on, our clients are still doing everything they can to come to terms with what they have been through and the incredibly difficult decisions they faced – decisions no parent should ever have to make.

“While nothing will ever change what happened, we are delighted to have helped them gain justice, answers and an apology regarding what they endured.

“Stepping Hill Hospital has faced much criticism in recent times and it is vital that every effort is made to improve the quality of care provided to patients.”


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