Joshua Titcombe death: Accused midwife ‘in denial’ over failings

Joshua TitcombeImage copyright

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Joshua Titcombe died nine days after being born at the Furness General Hospital maternity unit

A midwife accused of failings leading to the death of a baby boy in Cumbria is “in denial” about the impact of her actions, a hearing has been told.

Holly Parkinson was one of the midwives caring for newborn Joshua Titcombe at Barrow’s Furness General hospital after his birth in 2008.

She faces being struck off for a string of failings, including not reporting Joshua’s low temperature to doctors.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council is due to decide her fate later.

Joshua was one of 11 babies to die after being treated at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust over a nine-year period.

Mrs Parkinson was among a number of employees investigated after an inquest five years ago heard staff repeatedly missed chances to spot and treat a serious infection which led to Joshua’s death after just nine days.

She has apologised to the baby’s family but, eight years later, remains in denial about her role in what happened, a panel at the hearing in London was told.

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Joshua was being treated at Furness General Hospital

Joshua, from Dalton-in-Furness, died after suffering pneumococcal septicaemia and a lung haemorrhage.

A hearing last month found Mrs Parkinson, who had been working as a midwife for five years at the time, failed in her duty to look after him properly, causing him to “lose a significant chance of survival”.

She did not get a doctor when she recorded Joshua’s low temperature, and admitted failing to document advice that observations should be carried out on the newborn.

The failures denied Joshua “any opportunity to be seen, assessed and treated” by a paediatrician, the panel ruled.

Chairman Stuart Gray said Mrs Parkinson appeared to still be in denial and “not fully accepting” of the impact of her actions.

He said she was at times “evasive, controlled and detached” when explaining what happened.

Mr Gray added: “There is a risk, albeit a low risk, of repetition which could once again place patients at risk of harm.”

A number of other hearings involving midwives who worked for the trust are under way.

An inquiry led by Dr Bill Kirkup found last year found that a “lethal mix” of failures at the trust led to the unnecessary deaths of 11 babies and one mother between 2004 and 2013.

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