Doctors insisted my baby was fine… so why did I have a stillbirth just two days later? Agony of 18-year-old who was ‘fobbed off’ throughout her nightmare pregnancy
A mother has told of her heartbreak after her baby was delivered stillborn, just two days after medics dismissed her concerns and sent her home.
Madison Goodwin, from Southend in Essex, was 36-weeks pregnant when she attended Southend University Hospital in January for a scan amid concerns over her baby’s growth.
The 18-year-old was told she needed an emergency C-section after results revealed she was ‘at risk’ and her baby was too small.
However, as she sat in the waiting room, medics told her she had been mixed up with another patient who had the same name and due date.
A second scan later that day showed her baby was kicking normally.
Ms Goodwin was sent home and asked to return two days later for another scan. However, at that appointment, she was told her baby had no heartbeat.
Madison Goodwin from Southend in Essex was 36-weeks pregnant when she attended Southend University Hospital on January 11 for a scan over concerns of her baby’s growth
After results revealed she was ‘at risk’ and her baby was too small, she was immediately told she needed an emergency C-section. But as she sat in the waiting room, medics told her she had been mixed up with another patient. A second scan showed her baby was kicking normally. Pictured, Ms Goodwin with her partner Matteo Furiello
The 18-year-old was sent home and asked to return two days later for another scan. On January 13, however, she was told there was no heartbeat. Ms Goodwin was induced and her daughter, Valentina, was stillborn. Pictured, Ms Goodwin with Valentina
Ms Goodwin was induced and her daughter, Valentina, was stillborn.
She said: ‘I’m still quite numb and in shock — it happened so quickly as she was here and then all of a sudden she wasn’t.’
Her mother Dawn, who claimed her daughter was continually ‘fobbed off’, has now called for a ‘thorough investigation into Southend Hospital’.
Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the site, said they had begun a ‘full investigation’ into the events and were in ‘close contact’ with the family.
Stillbirths — when a baby is born dead after six months of being in the womb – occur in around one per 200 births in England.
WHAT IS STILLBIRTH?
A stillbirth is when a baby is born dead after 24 completed weeks of pregnancy.
It happens in around one in every 200 births in England.
If the baby dies before 24 completed weeks, it’s known as a miscarriage or late foetal loss.
The NHS advises mothers to contact their midwife or doctor straightaway if they are worried about their baby, such as if it is moving less than usual.
Expectant mothers should not wait until the next day, as reduced movement can be a sign something is wrong and needs to be checked, the health service said.
Some stillbirths happen due to complications with the placenta, a birth defect or the mother’s heart.
But in some cases no cause can be identified.
If a baby has died in the womb, mothers may be able to give birth naturally or may have to be induced.
Not all stillbirths can be prevented, but not smoking, avoiding alcohol and drugs during pregnancy and not sleeping on your back after 28 weeks can reduce the risk.
In the early stages of pregnancy, Ms Goodwin suffered from violent sickness and was admitted into hospital with dehydration.
After frequently returning to the maternity unit, she was told she may have kidney stones and later a water infection.
‘She wasn’t well and nobody seemed to have an answer,’ Dawn said.
But in December when Ms Goodwin lost her mucus plug — an accumulation of mucus that seals the entrance of the uterus — she was rushed in an ambulance to Basildon Hospital, which has more advanced premature baby facilities.
The plug of mucus that normally comes away at the start of labour, sometimes tinged with blood, typically indicates the cervix is starting to dilate.
Doctors discovered her baby was smaller than expected but that she was not in labour. Ms Goodwin was discharged and referred back to Southend Hospital.
At a follow-up appointment at Southend Hospital, doctors diagnosed her with Strep B, a common infection typically carried in the gut or vagina without symptoms.
The infection does not require treatment until labour starts, when antibiotics should be given to reduce the risk of the baby developing it.
After the stillbirth, Ms Goodwin and her partner, Matteo Furiello, spent two days with Valentina before she was taken to Great Ormond Street Hospital for a post-mortem.
The couple are now waiting to hold their daughter’s funeral.
Ms Goodwin said: ‘The bereavement midwives that have supported me through my loss have been amazing.
‘But since I left hospital on the 17th, I haven’t had any more direct contact with the hospital.
‘The idea of other people going through this horrible thing is just as awful — it happens so often and it just gets brushed over.
‘This has caused pain and lifelong trauma and I want people to know about it if it stops it happening again’.
Dawn has called for additional procedures to protect mothers and babies, such as having two or more consultants who decide on a treatment plan.
She added: ‘If there were more checks, more scans, this might not have happened and my granddaughter would be here.
‘We’ve had an outpouring of support online from friends and family and even other women who have had similar experiences at Southend Hospital.
After the stillbirth, Ms Goodwin and her partner, Matteo Furiello, spent two days with Valentina before she was taken to Great Ormond Street Hospital for a full post-mortem. The couple are now waiting to hold their daughter’s funeral. Her mother Dawn (pictured right) has called for additional procedures to be implemented to protect mothers and babies
Care regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), last year rated Southend University Hospital’s maternity service as ‘requires improvement’. Such a ruling means there is a risk of avoidable harm for mothers and babies under the CQC’s criteria
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The graphic shows the NHS trusts in England that have logged the biggest drop in midwives between September 2022 and July 2023 — the latest data available. Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust has seen its midwife workforce drop 12.8 per cent over this nine-month period, while Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust has 8.8 per cent fewer staff compared to ten months earlier, NHS workforce data shows
‘We want a full investigation to learn what went wrong and I will fight to hold them negligent and sue them – some good has got to come out of this.
‘No compensation will ever bring Valentina back but if we can stop this happening to other babies then we will.’
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) last year rated Southend University Hospital’s maternity service as ‘requires improvement’, meaning there is a risk of avoidable harm for mothers and babies.
This ranking was given as part of the CQC’s fresh inspection programme, launched in the wake of hundreds of baby deaths at the Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust, which a two-year investigation blamed on staffing and training gaps as well as midwives being determined to keep C-section rates low.
Diane Sarkar, chief nursing and quality officer for Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘Our condolences go out to the family at this difficult time.
‘We would like to reassure them that we have already begun a full investigation and that all stillbirths are automatically reviewed in line with national guidance.
‘We are in close contact with the family and are keeping them informed on the progress of the investigation.’