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Posted on 27th February 2017

Baby dies because midwives lack basic maths skills

A 42-year-old mother had to suffer the loss of a healthy baby, due to the lack of basic arithmetic by her midwives.

Rebecca Clarkson lost her daughter, Ava, due to her age being miscalculated and NHS guidelines not being followed.

A report has found that several opportunities to identify Mrs Clarkson’s age were missed by staff at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The guidelines state that women over the age of 40 should be treated by a consultant and offered an induction at their due date, because of the higher risk of stillbirth.

Mrs Clarkson’s midwife did not realise that the wrong care had been provided to her patient until 40 weeks and six days. It was quickly arranged that Mrs Clarkson would be induced at 41 weeks and one day.

This action was too late and Ava was stillborn in January 2016.

Mrs Clarkson was later told: “You didn’t look your age.”

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust found that Mrs Clarkson’s age could have been identified at several different opportunities and her care could have been changed earlier.

Katherine Murphy, of the Patients Association, told The Times: “It is really concerning that we have people providing care for vulnerable people who cannot do simple arithmetic.”

Mrs Clarkson, 43, said in the same interview: “I find it disgraceful that they couldn’t work my age out. Because of that, I do not have my daughter now.” 

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