- Mother, who wishes to remain anonymous, told story on BBC Radio Kent
- Says her baby was only found when another hospital called about her
- Medway Maritime Hospital, Kent, has apologised for the incident
- Says it has introduced new rules for nurses and bereavement counselling
- Medway Foundation Trust was recently dubbed the ‘worst in the NHS’
A stillborn baby was ‘left to rot a hospital floor’ for six days after staff forgot about her.
The girl, delivered at Medway Maritime Hospital in Kent, began to decompose after nurses left her in a transportation cot on the floor.
She had been taken from her mother by hospital staff and was due to have a post-mortem examination.
But nurses forgot about her and she was only discovered nearly a week later when staff at Great Ormond Street called to enquire about the stillbirth.
And because her body had not been kept cold, it had started to decay.
Hospital bosses have issued an apology to the family, and introduced new guidelines to prevent it happening again.
The incident occurred in 2014 and the mother is now taking legal action.
Scroll down to hear the mother’s radio interview
The woman said her stillborn daughter was left in a box on the floor of a room at Medway Maritime Hospital in Kent (pictured) before being taken for a post-mortem examination
In an interview where she burst into tears, the baby’s mother said today the ordeal will haunt her for the rest of her life.
She told BBC Radio Kent: ‘At the end of the day, she was a human being and had the right to be treated like one, like anyone else, after they’ve passed away.
‘How did she feel? I knew she wasn’t alive but that’s still her body.
‘To think nobody thought of her for seven days.
‘She wasn’t in a cold cot, she was in a transport cot on the floor. She was just left to rot.’
She added: ‘You feel angry, upset, you lose trust in people. It’s going to haunt me for the rest of my life.
‘I know she wasn’t alive but at the end of the day that’s still her body.
‘To think that nobody thought about her for nearly seven days – you get angry, you are upset. You do lose trust in people.
STILLBIRTH: THE FACTS
A stillbirth is a baby born dead after 24 completed weeks of pregnancy.
If the baby dies before 24 completed weeks, it’s known as a miscarriage or late foetal loss.
Stillbirth is more common than many people think.
There are more than 3,600 stillbirths every year in the UK, and one in every 200 births ends in a stillbirth.
Eleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, making it 15 times more common than cot death.
Around a half of all stillbirths are linked to placental complications.
This means that for some reason the placenta (the organ that links the baby’s blood supply to the mother’s and nourishes the baby in the womb) isn’t functioning properly.
About 10 per cent of stillborn babies have some kind of birth defect that contributed to their death.
A small percentage of stillbirths are caused by problems with the mother’s health, for example pre-eclampsia, or other problems, including cord accidents and infections.
Source: NHS Choices
‘You automatically think they [the babies] are going to be looked after…the fact these people choose to do their job [you’d think] they would just care for them no matter what.
‘I shouldn’t have had to question the care of my daughter after she was out of the room because it should automatically be there.
The Medway Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, was recently dubbed the ‘worst in the NHS’.
The failing organisation has a rating of ‘inadequate’ and has been in ‘special measures’ for three years.
Health watchdogs have previously reported several cases of patients waiting more than 24 hours in casualty and there have been a string of widely-reported medical blunders.
And an investigation three years ago found a horrifying catalogue of hospital mortuary blunders around the country.
Dead people were abandoned for days and undertakers received the wrong bodies, the The Mail on Sunday found.
In one year alone a stillborn baby was lost while awaiting post-mortem examination, while five stillborn babies left to decompose on a mortuary work-bench for days.
The family’s lawyer, Nick Fairweather, added: ‘I don’t think I have ever come across a case where such abject errors have been made, which had such a horrific effect compounding the grief that this family was going through already.
‘To have this on top of that is really quite atrocious.’
Dot Smith, head of midwifery and gynaecology at Medway Maritime Hospital, said: ‘We’re extremely sorry for the distress the family has suffered. We’ve already written to the family to acknowledge the failings on our part.
The child was only discovered when staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital called to enquire about the stillbirth (file image)
‘In 2014, we carried out a Serious Incident investigation report into the circumstances surrounding this matter – the findings of which have been provided to the family.
‘As a result of this incident, we’ve introduced new guidelines for our nursing staff to prevent this from ever happening again.
‘We’ve also employed the services of a bereavement midwife to provide specialist support to our staff, and to help grieving families in coordinating bereavement care, should they suffer the tragedy of losing a child.’