Tragedy of four-day-old baby’s death

Doncaster Royal Infirmary
Doncaster Royal Infirmary

The teenage mother of a baby who died four days after being born with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck had called the hospital to complain of abdominal pains the day 
before she went into labour, an inquest heard.

Emily Louise Reynolds, aged 16, was categorised as having a ‘high risk’ pregnancy because her baby was breach and was booked in for a caesarean.

But she told the inquest after experiencing abdominal pains and a burning sensation on March 24 around midday – the day before she was due to have a caesarean – a midwife at the triage department at Doncaster Royal Infirmary advised her the pains were ‘normal’ and not to come into hospital at that stage.

But just hours later Miss Reynolds was rushed to DRI around 6.40pm in the advanced stages of labour and started giving birth to her baby Rhogan Lee James Dove in a hospital toilet before being rushed to the delivery suite.

The court heard Rhogan was born with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and medics spent around 40 minutes giving him CPR. He was transferred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital but died four days later on March 28.

The court heard shortly after the birth there were signs that a placental abruption may have occurred – something that happens when the placenta starts to come away from the inner wall of the womb before a baby is born.

Miss Reynolds was shopping with her auntie Julie Reynolds when she started experiencing abdominal pain around midday on March 24.

Miss Reynolds told Doncaster Coroner’s Court Emily was doubled over in agony and crying from the pain that started when she was shopping in the Frenchgate Centre.

She said: “I explained to the midwife on the phone there was a burning sensation and the pain was worse when I was standing.

“She explained it was normal for women to get pains in this stage of pregnancy.”

Miss Reynolds, of Sandford Road, Doncaster, said she had been told to ring back by midwife Catherine Blakey if she had any further concerns.

She told the inquest her auntie Julie had also had a conversation with the midwife about the symptoms but in evidence midwife Catherine Blakey said she could “not recall” speaking to Julie.

Julie said in a statement read out in ocurt: “I believe if Emily had been told to come into hospital that day Rhogan would have survived, he would be here now.

“I feel that Emily was not listened to due to her age.”

Julie said a medic had told her after the birth the burning sensation her niece had described could have been a sign of placental abruption – a condition that can deprive a baby of oxygen and nutrients

Midwife Catherine Blakey said she received a call from Emily around 12.15pm on March 24 but said she did not recall having a conversation with her aunt Julie.

She said Miss Reynolds had described two ‘twinges’ but said she felt comfortable at that point.

Ms Blakey added: “In my professional opinion the symptoms Emily described sounded like normal twinges at that stage of pregnancy.”

The court heard a serious incident investigation was launched at Doncaster Royal Infirmary following the incident.

The inquest continues.