Mistakes at Lincoln hospital led to death of newborn twin boy

The United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust has apologised after a coroner condemned Lincoln County Hospital over the death of a newborn twin boy due to doctor’s errors.

Senior coroner Stuart Fisher ruled that Thor Dalhaug, who died an hour after birth in September 2013, had suffered fatal brain damage due to a number of “unorthodox” errors.

In a damning report, he said that an unsupervised junior surgeon had used forceps in an unacceptable way to deliver the baby.

Thor’s mother Michelle Dalhaug had been taken for a caesarean when her baby’s head became stuck. The report stated junior surgeon Dr Deniz Al-Hirmizy resorted to using forceps to free the baby.

The ruling concluded that Thor died of brain damage as a result of the actions taken to free his head.

The report also found that senior managers at the hospital had attempted to remove the details about forceps being used in the account of the birth.

It was noted that Dr Al-Hirmizy had claimed she was unsupervised, but had “experience of caesareans”.

The report comes as a blow to the trust, which has recently been taken out of special measures after 20 months.

Dr Suneil Kapadia, medical director for United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We are deeply sorry for the shortcomings in care provided to Thor’s mother and the tragic impact this has had upon Thor and his family.

“United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust has accepted liability for Thor’s death and will be working with the family’s solicitors to agree an appropriate compensation package.

“Following an internal investigation a detailed action plan was put in place to improve clinical practice at the Trust.

“The healthcare inspector, the CQC, recently rated our maternity services as good and highlighted our good incident reporting culture and the positive changes that have been made over the last 6 months.

“We have learnt important lessons from this tragic case and have implemented changes to reduce the risk of anything similar happening again. We very much regret that these changes came too late for Thor and his family.

“We are considering all of the coroner’s recommendations, and will respond to the coroner by the specified deadline.”

Last year, medical negligence payouts made by ULHT rose to £19 million. Since 2010, NHS Litigation Authority figures have revealed a 146% rise in the size of the trust’s negligence bills.

In recent weeks, a record sum was agreed for a Lincoln mother, who’s son suffers cerebral palsy as a result of a botched birth at Lincoln County Hospital in December 2002.