Mother of baby with Down syndrome has ‘remarkable’ baby girl despite ‘advice to terminate pregnancy’
The mother of a baby with Down syndrome says doctors advised her to terminate her pregnancy before the condition was confirmed, leaving her suicidal. Hetty Blakey gave birth to baby Poppy on November 2, 2021 and said she felt abandoned by the hospitals that treated her daughter, Hull Live reports.
Hetty received treatment at hospitals including Lincoln County and Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby. The trust that runs the Lincolnshire hospital said it was in contact with Poppy’s family, while the Grimsby trust confirmed it was investigating a formal complaint.
Hetty said she was told by Grimsby Hospital that a cardiology consultant was unavailable to see her daughter, who was at risk of heart failure, as she felt ‘forced’ to terminate her pregnancy at the hospital. Lincoln Hospital. She also said Poppy received incorrect vaccinations at eight weeks, resulting in bleeding from behind.
She had her 12-week scan at Lincoln and said: “Based on the scan, we were given an abortion flyer and told it didn’t look good, and that with the amount of [nuchal translucency] liquid, there was a chance that the baby had something very serious. They handed me a scanned image and rocked me into this really depressed place of “This baby’s not going to live”. It was above all a diagnosis. It was just because of a scan.
“All babies have this fluid in the back of their neck, and in a baby who doesn’t have any chromosomal abnormalities, the measurement would usually be between one and two millimeters. But a baby who has a chromosomal abnormality, their measurement would normally be above three. So because the thickness was so high – in our case it was 6.7mm – it was enough to get us an abortion flyer.”
The couple then sought private healthcare at Harley Street Hospital in London, and Hetty underwent CVS (chorionic villus sampling), which detects fetal abnormalities. This led to a diagnosis of Down syndrome.
Hetty said: “[The baby] looked completely healthy and they didn’t think there was any reason to medically terminate the baby. I had feelings of embarrassment, shame, and I thought people were going to make fun of me. My partner and I were really upset, but it took us about seven days to get over it, sort things out and fall in love with the pregnancy all over again.”
She said she would have terminated the pregnancy on Lincoln’s advice, had she not sought a second opinion. She said: “I would have aborted Poppy based on the information I received at Lincoln Hospital. They made it look like it was the fairest thing to do. It was not a case of “She might have something wrong with her, but it might be okay,” there was no happiness in that. It was just a matter of, be prepared.
“I felt really hurt and ignored. I drove on an absolutely hysterical bypass, alone, because my partner was in London that day. But I was incredibly suicidal. After that day, they didn’t tell me. never contacted again. I wasn’t even called to see if I was okay. Poppy was almost not there because of their advice.
The couple, previously from Lincoln, moved to Kirmington, near Grimsby, where their care was transferred to Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital.
Hetty suffered from polyhydramnios – a rare condition in which there is an excessive amount of amniotic fluid – and her unborn baby had a heart defect and duodenal atresia, a condition in which the stomach is not attached to the intestine . Hetty said: “At this point we have been classified as a very high risk pregnancy and Grimsby could no longer deliver Poppy.”
She said they were referred to Leeds Children’s Hospital for Poppy’s heart defect and Sheffield Children’s Hospital for Poppy’s duodenal atresia, and were also sent to the Scunthorpe General Hospital for Fetal Medicine. At this point, Hetty was 30 weeks pregnant and had to choose between giving birth in Grimsby and being taken in an ambulance the two-and-a-half-hour drive to Leeds, or moving elsewhere.
She says: “[Going in an ambulance] ran the risk that, if anything happened with Poppy, she wouldn’t have specialist care there, and there wouldn’t be anyone who could work on her heart right away. So we had to get up and move. »
Hetty found a hospital in London that specializes in unborn babies with Down’s syndrome, so the couple spent £15,000 on nearby hotels as the treatment required was “not available” in Lincolnshire. They then found a flat opposite St Thomas’ Hospital, where Poppy was born by emergency caesarean section.
They returned to Grimsby after Poppy underwent two surgeries and were told that St Thomas’ Hospital would now share responsibility for Popp’s care with Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital.
Hetty said she felt neglected by the care Poppy received at Grimsby. She said: “We asked Grimsby Hospital if they could scan Poppy’s heart as she had an open duct which could have led to immediate heart failure. We were told the consultant could not see us I was told at 30 weeks the baby could come anytime, and was told I had to move to London and I had to get there fast.” She also said Poppy received incorrect vaccinations at Grimsby, which led to a visit to Sheffield A&E.
She said: “For a mum who has just taken her baby out of the intensive care unit, it was incredibly scary. I feel a tremendous amount of neglect and feel harassed and intimidated by Grimsby Hospital. J ‘ve received letters in the mail telling me that I did not use their services because I told them that at this time, as Poppy has a heart defect, the hip and ear tests what they want to do is not important.
“She’s seen the best cardiologist in London and yet Grimsby Hospital feels they have to put on a dime all the time. I get letters telling me how to take care of my child when they let me do all this. all alone.”
Hetty said: “Poppy is a remarkable little girl.” She is now awaiting open heart surgery.
Responses from hospitals
Melanie Sharp, assistant chief nurse at Grimsby’s Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital, said: ‘We are fully aware of these concerns and are currently investigating as a formal complaint. We will respond directly to the family once the investigation is complete.
A United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust spokesperson said: “Unfortunately we are unable to comment on individual cases, however, we have been contacted by the patient’s family and have been in direct contact with them.”
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