Pregnancy & Birth

Baby boy died after doctors cut his head open during emergency caesarean

The hospital has apologised for 'shortfalls' in the care of the baby.

By Bettina Tyrrell
The unimaginable happened to Claire Smith and her partner Scott Allen during the birth of their son. Tragically the couple's baby boy died after doctors made a two-inch cut into his scalp during an emergency delivery.
The child, who the British couple named Carson Allen, died from a haemorrhage three hours after he was born during a caesarean at Nottingham City Hospital in July 2013. Since the horrific incident, Ms Smith, 41, and Mr Allen, 42, have been fighting for answers from the hospital.
Metro UK reports, a year after the newborn's death, an inquest ruled it was accidental. The court heard during an emergency caesarean, doctors pierced a soft part of Carson's skull while cutting into the wall of his mum's womb with a scalpel.
However, explanation of how their baby died prematurely wasn't closure for the grieving couple, who for years blamed themselves for their son's death.
Despite their heartache, the couple decided to fight for more information from the hospital as well as compensation for their tragic loss.
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After a lengthy four-year battle, the case concluded in December 2017, with Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (which runs the hospital) agreeing to an undisclosed settlement for the family. The hospital also admitted to 'shortfalls' in the care of the baby.
Dr Lucy Kean, head of service for obstetrics and gynaecology at the trust said: "We reiterate the trust's condolences to the family on the death of their son, Carson, and apologise for the shortfalls in our care, mindful that no words or amount of money can undo the harm and distress the family have experienced as a result of this case."
Ms Smith only discovered she was pregnant with Carson at 27 weeks in June 2013. Previously, in October 2011 she had a procedure which is known to cause complications if a woman is to become pregnant again.
Because of this operation doctors should have been aware that Ms Smith's pregnancy would be a high-risk pregnancy. However, the inquest heard there were multiple missed opportunities to check Ms Smith's medical records properly.
The hospital trust has accepted that Ms Smith was not properly advised of the risks involved with a pregnancy and this procedure.
"I thought the cut on Carson's head was because of the procedure I had in 2011 – it wasn't until the result of the post-mortem that I found out it was caused by a scalpel," explained Ms Smith.
The devastated mother said the apology from the hospital is what she "desperately needed", but it "hasn't brought her closure".
"I have been put through hell fighting for the reassurance that I could not have prevented Carson's death," she said.
"It isn't closure and the heartbreak will never end but it has given me peace of mind knowing my baby boy's death was not my fault."
"I'm constantly talking about Carson. I go to the cemetery twice a day, every day. It's important to keep his memory alive. He was only here for a short amount of time but he will forever be in my heart."
"My message to others out there would be to trust your instincts. It's why I fought the case – I did this for other babies, parents and families to ensure no one else has to lose something so precious in such a traumatic way."