Parents Marisa Sheard and Michael Vernon are taking legal action against Ormskirk Hospital as they believe the use of forceps in the delivery went catastrophically wrong
Image: Marisa Sheard)
Heartbroken parents have claimed that their baby died after a tragic forceps delivery which they described as “like something out of a horror film”.
Winter Vernon was born on May 10 at Ormskirk Hospital in Lancashire and died from what are believed to have been severe head injuries the following day at a Liverpool hospital she had been transferred to.
Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust has said it is concluding a comprehensive investigation to understand the full circumstances around her death.
Civil engineer Michael claimed that he saw the baby’s injuries as soon as she came out, with the top of her skull caved in and “the shape of the forceps indented into her skull”, together with a big cut four or five inches just above her eye.
The 27-year-old mum said they were having to deal with the loss of their baby as well as being forced to fight to get to the truth.
Marisa said: “Our lives were shattered completely.
“We’re not only having to deal with the devastating loss of our baby but we’re also forced to fight to get to the truth and an explanation of what happened to take her away from us.”
Have you got a story that you think we should feature? Email us at [email protected]
Civil engineer Michael, 35, added: “As soon as the baby came out I could see the injuries. The top of her skull was all caved in.
“You could literally see the shape of the forceps indented into her skull and you could see a big cut four or five inches just above her eye.
“I have that memory in my head for the rest of my life, I will never forget that, ever. It is like a horror film for me.”
The couple, from Netherton in Merseyside, also claim they were contacted by someone claiming to be a member of staff at Ormskirk Hospital in the days after Winter’s death – raising whistleblowing concerns about the way the delivery was handled.
Beautician Marisa, originally from Formby, said she went into hospital to be induced on May 8, having gone six days over her due date.
By May 10, she was still not fully dilated and was told she would need to give birth via emergency Caesarean section.
She was given two epidurals, meaning she could feel nothing from the waist down, and was wheeled into the operating theatre for the procedure to begin.
However when she arrived in theatre, she was told she was now fully dilated and could give birth naturally.
According to Marisa and Michael, who was also present, it soon became clear something was wrong.
She said: “He was using the forceps with excessive force, pulling me down the bed. Every time he pulled the midwives had to pull me back up the bed.
“I had a midwife next to me monitoring my contractions as I couldn’t feel them and she was letting doctor know when I was and when to pull.
“The doctor was pulling when I wasn’t even contracting. The midwife shouted at him ‘she is not contracting’ but he still proceeded to pull me down the bed.
“The doctor had to do cuts on me to get my baby Winter out.”
Both Marisa and Michael describe palpable “tension in the room” during the delivery and both describe Winter as looking “battered and bruised” and “lifeless” when she was eventually delivered.
She was whisked away for emergency treatment, which Marisa and Michael said they were later told included CPR.
Winter was transferred to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool the following day and, despite her condition initially appearing to make slight improvements, she died on May 11.
Marisa and Michael say doctors at Alder Hey told them Winter appeared to have severe fractures to her skull.
An investigation has since been launched by Julie Goulding, senior coroner for Sefton, St Helens and Knowsley, and the medical cause of death has been withheld.
Winter’s death has also been referred to the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Dr Kate Clark, medical director of Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, said: “I want to send our deepest sympathies to Winter’s parents at this very difficult and distressing time.
“We are concluding a comprehensive investigation to understand the full circumstances around her death. However, it would be inappropriate to comment further until this and the Coroner’s inquiry have been completed.”