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Tragedy for parents as new born dies just hours after birth

View profile for Laura Sheehan
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What should have been the happiest day of John and Tracey Gamble’s life quickly became their worst after Tracey went into labour.

They attended Colchester Hospital in April last year where they hoped to deliver their healthy baby boy.  However problems arose when staff struggled to deliver baby Frank by forceps during 3 attempts and were forced to move to an emergency caesarean section after his heart stopped beating.

Just last week, Chelmsford Coroner’s Court heard that Frank’s tiny skull was fractured during the ill fated forceps birth. His head was found to be in the wrong position for the labour and after suffering a bleed on his brain, baby Frank died just hours after his birth.

Independent experts attending the inquest hearing told the coroner that Consultant Prof Mohammed Khaled, who was holding the forceps, used 'poor technique or excessive force' which he should have ensured did not happen.

The senior medic, who has been on restricted duties following the death, told the inquest that Frank’s head was in a rotated position causing the forceps to unlock.

In reading her verdict at the hearing, Coroner for Essex, Caroline Beasley-Murray, said that Frank could have been saved if 'appropriate' action had been taken earlier in the labour’.  She advised that, ‘There were very serious failings in the care Tracey Gamble and baby Frank received at Colchester hospital.’

The devastated parents, Tracey and John, and their family released a statement conveying that the evening of Frank’s birth will haunt them for the rest of their days.

Following the inquest a spokesman for Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust said: 'We would like to pass on our sincere condolences to Mr and Mrs Gamble for the sad death of their son, Frank.’

They went on to say that, 'Whilst nothing can now change the sad events of 18 April 2012, it is our hope that the action we have taken to understand why this happened and the steps we have taken to achieve as much learning as possible from this tragic event indicate how seriously we have taken Frank’s death.’

By clinical negligence solicitor, Laura Sheehan