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Mother seeks answers after son was stillborn



In August 2019 we summarised the tragic death of Ennis Pecaku. He died due to a series of failings at Basildon Hospital. That article can be read here:


Sadly another family have suffered whilst under the care of the maternity services at Basildon Hospital, this time resulting in a stillborn. Stela Ernu, was due to be induced to deliver her baby boy, Lucas[1]. In March 2019, despite having contractions, she was sent home and told to return three days later. However she went back to the hospital the next day because of her contractions. She was given painkillers and sent home again. She went back that evening and was told her unborn baby boy’s heart was no longer beating; he had died in utero.


Mrs Ernu then had to undergo the heartbreaking process of delivering her dead son. Mrs Ernu said “Having to go through labour knowing that your baby is dead was the worst thing that you can possibly imagine and the most horrific thing that has ever happened to me.”


The hospital started an internal investigation but the family are still waiting for answers.

The Care Quality Commission have recently investigated Basildon Hospital. Their report in July 2019 states that “we found a decline in safety practices in maternity. Women who were identified as ‘high-risk’ were not always cared for in appropriate areas with access to appropriate staff and equipment. We were not assured that infection and prevention control measures were consistently applied in maternity.”[2]


Of more concern the Care Quality Commission concluded the hospital required improvement because;


  • Not all staff training met targets;
  • Medical records for women were inconsistently completed. These included records of foetal movement, recording of the date and time of the observations and signatures of the member staff undertaking the review;
  • The service did not assess, monitor or manage women with high risk pregnancies in the correct environment with the support of medical staff. This meant that if risks were identified there was a delay in transferring women to the obstetric led unit.


At Sternberg Reed we see exactly these failings in claims for clinical negligence. In maternity care this can result in serious injury, and even death to the mother or the child. In most instances, obtaining answers and getting closure is the driving factor. More importantly, it’s also about ensuring that failings in care, be it neglect or negligence, are brought to people’s attention.

Our Medical Negligence Team consists of a Medico Legal Nurse Advisor. This provides us with an unparalleled insight into medical cases and the inner workings of the NHS, in particular with stillborn cases. We can explain to you what happened after reviewing your case notes, and what next steps should be taken, particularly in regards to the NHS Complaints process.


Dr Darren Conway PhD is a Solicitor in our Medical Negligence Department here at Sternberg Reed, specialising in helping those who have suffered an avoidable injury in a medical setting.

If you want to find out more and see how Sternberg Reed could help you, click HERE

Or call us on 0208 591 3366

For more information regarding NHS complaints process, please click HERE.

This article does not constitute legal advice and you should contact us directly if you are facing a similar situation.



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* Soulla Kokkinos, Andrew Crossley,  Julian Beard, Francecsa Clay.