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Mum relives being blamed for losing daughter as midwives shouted at her in birth

A mum has bravely relived how she was blamed for losing her baby daughter as a damning report into maternity care at an NHS trust was released.

A review shared today into baby deaths at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust found horrendous failings.

Between 2013 and 2016, maternity death rates were 10 per cent higher than in comparable hospital trusts.

The report said that when completed, the review of 1,862 families “will be the largest number of clinical reviews undertaken relating to a single service, as part of an inquiry, in the history of the NHS”.

A total of 13 mothers died between 2000 and 2019 and others were called pathetic and lazy or left screaming for hours without treatment.

It found the death of Kate Stanton Davies in 2009, who died just six hours after she was born, was “avoidable”.

Her parents Rhiannon Davies and Richard Stanton were among those who started the campaign for an independent review into maternity care at the trust.

Ms Davies told Sky News: “It was like, come on girls there’s nothing wrong with you, and right at the point of Kate being born, obviously that is very difficult.

“I remember the midwife shouting at me.”

Ms Davies’ husband Mr Stanton said Kate’s death was compounded with his wife being blamed.

He told Sky News: “Rhiannon herself was blamed for the loss of Kate.

“The midwife said at an inquest that she couldn’t look after Kate because she was looking after Rhiannon just after the birth of Kate.

“That was fundamentally not true and was proven to be factually incorrect at the inquest.”

Ms Davies’ said she is still heavily affected by her baby’s death.

She said: “You never get over the death of your baby. Why would you, how could you?

“I will never ever give up on Kate, I will never get over her loss.

“She lives within me and I think of her every single day.”

In a press conference following the release of the review, former senior midwife Donna Ockenden, chair of the independent maternity review, said the care at the trust had “caused untold pain and distress.

She said many families had suffered long-term mental health problems and they were subjected to poor care.

The damning 48-page report offered recommendations – including a call for risk assessments throughout pregnancy – as “must dos” which should be implemented immediately.

Ms Davies responded: “I think this is an exceptional review, I think the level of detail in it is heartbreaking but very powerful.

“The point of us campaigning for so long to uncover what had gone on at this hospital trust has been in Kate’s name effectively.

“We never wanted another family to go through what we went through and what we live with.

“We absolutely wanted all the essential learning from her avoidable death to be taken forward to prevent further deaths, but obviously that didn’t happen which is how we ended up where we are today.”

The report includes one horrendous case when a woman had repeated attempts at forceps delivery but the baby sustained multiple skull fractures and subsequently died.

Ms Davies continued: “That is a very core, strong theme within the interim findings, this push for a natural birth at seemingly any cost.

“Case after case of babies aggressively delivered by forceps, having their skulls crushed and dying.

“In my case there was never a risk assessment done for my pregnancy, so while I did start out low risk, in the last two weeks of my pregnancy I was high risk and Kate was at high risk because she had stopped moving.

“But because I was never risk assessed I was told to give birth at the midwife-led unit and it was very much a case of you will give birth, there will be no epidural, you will get on with it.”