Andy's Story - Henry Thomas Pocock 21st March 2017
Henry was born on the 21st March 2017, six weeks early. We had gone into the Day unit at the hospital just to be checked as he wasn't moving. We were monitored for sometime in the morning and had a scan in the afternoon, our little man still wasn't moving. We could tell something wasn't right. There was a lot of excess water around Henry and his heart rate was very sleepy.
He was delivered by emergency C section after the breaking of waters caused his heart to crash. He was resuscitated after being born, we weren't sure how long he was without oxygen.
The above two paragraphs were written prior to us finding out the details of what really happened the day Henry was born, and the complexities and implications of the decisions that were made that day. We are still waiting for a coroners inquest to further investigate the care both Beth and Henry received.
From further investigations carried out by the trust as part of a Serious Investigation Report, we found out that Henrys CTG monitoring results were alarming within the first 30 minutes of us being monitored. the CTG machines that they used had software called Dawes-Redman.
"This is a unique software tool which provides a numeric analysis of the CTG trace and a robust interpretation based on the world-renowned Dawes-Redman Criteria."
This software had identified that Henrys trace was abnormal, his heart rate had minimal accelerations. We had found out from the investigation that the staff at the hospital were not trained to use/read the outcome printed on the trace. Although the trace clearly states that the result is abnormal, this was missed.
Beth was taken off the CTG by 11am on that morning, and admitted to the day unit where we remained without monitoring until 4pm when we went for a ultrasound scan. This scan didn't really show a lot about Henrys condition apart from confirming the fact he wasn't moving.
After the scan we were back on the ward, awaiting further decisions to be made. Beth was given steroids at around 5pm, these are normally given over a 24hr period to help mature babies lungs that are born early. Later that evening we were transferred over to the delivery suite to be monitored more as the day unit was closing. Henrys trace at this point was weaker and it was on the hand over to the unit that things went wrong.
The staff taking over our care were not made aware that we had been in the hospital all day. Therefore the decisions made were based on us having just come in, with suspected early labour. To bring the labour along the consultant decided to perform an ARM (artificial rupture of membrane). It was at this point the they lost Henrys heartbeat, when they found it again he was suffering bradycardia, this is a drop in heart rate below 110bpm for an extended period of time. After this happened Beth was rushed off to theatre and Henry was delivered by caesarean section whilst Beth was under a general anaesthetic. This left me in the room on the delivery suite for 4 hours on my own, a room normally with a bed and your partner. But this room was empty. I was so full of panic and worry, I don't think I have every been so scared in my whole life.
Henry had been without oxygen for almost 20 minutes before he was delivered, and was worked on for a period of time to resuscitate him. I was able to see him briefly as he passed the room on his way to the neonatal unit. He was so small and pink, but it wasn't until the early hours of the next morning that I was allowed to go to the NICU and see him. He was just laying there wires everywhere, they were preparing him ready to be taken to Ashford and St Peters Hospital in Chertsey where he would receive cooling treatment.
Henry was set up in a huge incubator, like a massive tank to be transferred via ambulance. After Beth had come back from recovery they bought Henry into the room before he was taken away.
Henry was transferred to St Peter's hospital in Chertsey, where he received the best care He could get. All the nurses were great, not only did the nurses look after Henry they looked after us too. This is one of the main reasons I want to raise money for The Little Roo Fund.
When Henry arrived at St. Peter's he was put onto a cooling treatment where his body temperature was lowered to 33C, this was to relieve pressure/workload on his brain to help prevent any further damage. After three days past he got stronger, his blood pressure improved, he was needing less oxygen so was breathing normal air through a ventilator so his lung function had improved.
We felt so hopeful that Henry was getting better and maybe he'd be able to come off some of the machines. The doctors were concerned about seizures he was having and the fact he wasn't more awake. They carried out an MRI scan of his brain and an EEG to measure brain activity.
I have no idea what time it might have been, but we were taken into a room, and our worst fears had come true, we were told that Henry had very little brain activity and the doctors did not think that he would be able to breath for himself once off the ventilator. I cannot begin to describe how this news made us both feel, it's something you never expect to be told or ever want to hear. My first memory after hearing this news was of my mum and brother walking into the unit and I just broke down in my mums arms, I made the strangest of noises.
We were told that Henry would not have any quality of life, he wouldn’t feel pain, he wouldn’t be able to see, hear, or communicate. I’m not sure how we made the decision, but we could see that he was becoming so tired and we just new it was the right thing to do. We were able to have most of our family visit us and Henry before his ventilator was removed. Bradley and Austin got to hold their little brother and have their had prints done together.
Once everyone had gone home and we were alone with Henry. Our little boy was taken off his ventilator at 4:55 on the afternoon of the 25th March. It was so nice to see his face properly for the first time, he looks so much like his older brothers. He managed to open his eyes quite a lot during this time, we could tell he was so pleased to be unplugged from everything. He seemed so relaxed but again so tired, it had been a long four days for him, having so many different medications pumped into him. We could see he was so tired, Henry managed to breath on his own for 1 hour and 15 minutes before his body grew to tired.
He passed so peacefully in his mummy's arms, these moments were the best and worst moments of our lives. We were comforted that he passed away so calmly and with us