A couple from Southend have filed a complaint after medics at Southend Hospital made the decision to avoid resuscitating their baby even before she was born.

When baby Lily’s mum went into premature labour at 24 week on 1st April, she was left stunned when doctors asked her to sign a Do Not Resuscitate form.

Rather than sign the form, the family requested that they be move to another hospital.

Baby Lily was born three days later at the Homerton Hospital, Hackney, where doctors managed to delay the labour and improve her chances of survival.

Almost four months after her birth, Lily is doing well and has now been transferred back to Southend Hospital’s neo natal unit. It is hoped she will be allowed home in the near future.

Southend Hospital has now launched an investigation following a complaint filed by Lily’s father, who said that he believes his baby wouldn’t have survived if she had been delivered at Southend.

He told the Essex County Standard: “They made no effort at all. They were preparing to hand me my daughter in a box.

“My partner has had two children before so she knew the signs, but we were left on our own for more than four hours. When things got worse and I could see blood, I called for them to see to her. She was in a really distressed state. When they started talking about us signing a DNR form I just lost it.”

Lily’s mum was admitted to Southend Hospital after becoming concerned that her waters had broken. Having survived cervical cancer she was at high risk of going into premature labour.

As things progressed, the couple claim that medics made no attempt stop or delay the labour and did not offer steroids injections that would help the unborn child’s lungs develop more quickly.

It wasn’t until a decision was made to transfer to Homerton that steroids was finally given.

Her partner said: “She was totally different there. They stopped the labour and she was like normal.

“Because her waters had broken she started to get an infection and they had to deliver the baby, but they gave her time for the steroids to work.

“There was never a question of giving up. They fought every inch of the way and we are so grateful to them.”

Lily’s mum said: “I believe if we hadn’t gone to the Homerton Lily wouldn’t be here today. We don’t want another family to go through this. We just kept hoping and praying she would be alright. They were really positive at the Homerton saying they did this all the time and she would be fine.”

Denise Townsend, associate director of nursing and governance at Southend Hospital, said: “We will fully investigate any complaint we receive and feed back to the person concerned as well as arranging to discuss concerns face-to-face.”

This is not the first time that Southend Hospital has hit the headlines following a complaint of sub-standard treatment involving a premature birth.

In March 2010, Tracy Godwin, 34, was left cradling her newborn son Tom (born at 22 weeks) until he stopped breathing after Southend staff failed to inform her that they do not attempt to resuscitate babies born before 23 weeks.

Tracy finally received an apology from Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust four years later.

Source: Essex County Standard