Families tell of their pain as damning maternity report detailing ‘catalogue of failings’ is published

A grandmother has criticised medics at a scandal-hit health trust for a “catalogue of failings” around the birth of her grandson that she claims contributed to her daughter taking her own life.

Lyn Richardson said her daughter Rebecca Kruza, 39, killed herself in 2017 months after the “traumatic” birth in October 2016 at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, Kent.

The hospital is run by East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, which was blasted in an independent report released on Wednesday which found some children died and others were injured due to failings by maternity staff.

Ms Richardson said her daughter had post-natal issues while her grandson suffered from health problems early on.

She claimed doctors did not take her daughter’s concerns seriously which she claimed was one of the reasons she took her own life.

Ms Richardson said: “From the day of the birth right up until we lost Rebecca, which was eight months later, there was a catalogue of failings.

“There’s just a complete lack of understanding of what mothers need and then consequently what their babies need.

“She was failed by nearly every professional involved in her care.

“She had a traumatic birth which was very badly managed, the immediate post-natal care was very badly managed when she developed problems.”

Ms Richardson did not expand on the nature of her grandson’s problems, and added her daughter had been on mental health medication and seeing a counsellor before her death.

She has since set up a foundation in her daughter’s memory to campaign for improvements to maternal care.

The foundation, called Everglow: The Rebecca Kruza Campaign, submitted evidence to the Kirkup inquiry providing details of Rebecca’s case and the experiences of a number of other parents and is calling for a number of measures to be implemented.

They include a mandatory duty of care for health visitors and GPs to support mothers and babies where symptoms of mental health emerge and introducing more frequent health checks from midwives in the post-natal period.

Responding to the Kirkup report, Ms Richardson said: “I wasn’t surprised by what we were told today because I know it’s happening because of our committee members.

“There’s a power play involved that needs to be dissolved.

“What is available needs to be rebuilt from the bottom up and the Government needs to provide the funding to implement those very simple measures and save the heartache.”

The trust has been approached for comment.

Elsewhere, Bex Walton (pictured), whose son Tommy died in 2020, two days after being born at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, told the BBC that “sorry is not good enough”.

She said: “I will never be able to forgive. Nothing they do now will be good enough because my boy will never be with me ever again.”

She had a baby struggling to breathe “but I was told he was perfect and healthy from numerous midwifes.”

Deborah Morris, whose son Archie was stillborn in 2012, said there was “gross negligence and warning signs and signals” the hospital did not recognise in time.

“I would like somebody to be held accountable for my baby dying because it’s utterly devastating to have to bury your son and I just feel like the hospital has never listened,” she told Sky News.

She said she felt angry the hospitals do not seem to have been held accountable.

“As a teacher we have Ofsted who come in and inspect and, if we are not doing our jobs properly, we’re held accountable to it, and I am really angry with the CQC (Care Quality Commission) for not taking action sooner. They just allowed this to carry on.”

In the Guardian, Kelli Rudolph and Dunstan Lowe, whose daughter Celandine died at five days old, said: “Doctors sought to blame Kelli for Celandine’s death.

“This victim blaming was the first in a long line of interactions with those in the trust who sought to delay, deflect and deny our search for the truth about what happened to our baby.

“In isolation, these tactics traumatised us after the tragedy of our daughter’s death.

“But when seen in the light of 10 years of failures, they signal a concerted effort to cover up the trust’s responsibility for what happened to Celandine and the many others who lost their lives due to failures in clinical judgment.”

Helen Gittos and Andy Hudson, whose full-term, healthy daughter, Harriet, died in 2014, said: “Too often during pregnancy, in labour and afterwards, rather than being listened to, we were treated dismissively, contemptuously and without a desire for understanding.

“These are not the conditions in which good care can happen or good learning take place.

“It is hard enough to come to terms with the death of a child; it is even harder when you are implicitly blamed for what happened.”

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