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Heartbroken Camden parents demand hospital learn from tragic baby death

PUBLISHED: 12:48 28 December 2012

Mother Melissa Reitano criticised the maternity ward at the Paddington hospital.

Mother Melissa Reitano criticised the maternity ward at the Paddington hospital.

PA Wire/Press Association Images

A heartbroken couple from Camden have called on a hospital to ensure a breakdown in communication which they claim contributed to the death of their baby boy hours after he was born never happens again.

Baby Jack died wrapped in a blanket, sleeping next to his mother at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, despite a doctor having ordered he be put under supervision for breathing and heart problems, claim the distraught parents.

Mother Melissa Reitano has spoken of her anguish in the hope that the tragic tale will not be repeated.

Mrs Reitano said: “I woke a couple of hours later and knew straight away that Jack wasn’t breathing. The nurses tried to resuscitate him but it was too late. We were absolutely heartbroken.

“We just couldn’t understand what had gone so wrong. The last four months have been a living hell as we’ve tried to come to terms with what happened.”

Baby Jack had been suffering from breathing problems and his heart rate dropped to a dangerously low level during a two-day labour at the Paddington hospital in August.

A delivery room doctor instructed that the infant should be monitored every two hours, but just hours later in the maternity ward Jack was wrapped in a blanket and laid next to his exhausted mother to sleep, the parents said.

A post mortem examination found that Jack died of natural causes – sudden unexpected early neonatal death.

A spokeswoman for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, said: “We have conducted a thorough investigation into the circumstances of Jack’s death; we found that some observations were not completed and this has been reinforced with the midwife concerned.

“However, the trust accepts the coroner’s finding that this did not in any way contribute to this tragic death, which was as a result of natural causes.”

Following an inquest at Westminster Coroner’s Court last Thursday, Mrs Reitano said: “It will give us some peace of mind to know the same mistakes can’t be made again.

“We just couldn’t understand how the maternity ward could completely ignore the order from the doctor in the delivery room and why Jack was allowed to co-sleep with me.

“We just hope improvements have been made in communications between different wards so no-one else has to go through what we have.”

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