A BRITISH couple from Mojacar want their stillborn child’s death to be investigated by the Prosecution Department.
The deaths of at least nine babies over the past year at the La Inmaculada Hospital in Hercal-Overa are under investigation by the Defensor del Paciente, a private support group.
Hospital malpractice led to their son’s death, Dawn Richards and Mitchell Jones now believe. The pregnancy appeared to be progressing normally until a 20-week scan last December detected liquid on the baby’s brain and the mother-to-be was referred to the Virgen de las Nieves Hospital in Granada.
Doctors detected a slightly enlarged ventricle on the left side of the brain. Chromosome tests proved negative, but doctors decided to control Dawn’s pregnancy with two-weekly checkups.
Further tests at Huercal found the ventricle had grown, although by January it had shrunk again, according to the Granada hospital. Hypospadia, a minor condition affecting the urethra, was now detected but doctors assured Dawn and Mitchell that it was not serious.
Further chromosome tests were inconclusive, but late in February the couple turned down the offer of a test for multiple congenital abnormalities as by then they were determined to go ahead with the pregnancy.
On March 4, after the Mojacar health centre failed to detect a foetal heartbeat, Dawn was sent to La Inmaculada where labour was induced after they found that her baby had died.
A subsequent post-mortem could not determine the cause of death, for which it would have been necessary to examine the placenta, which was usually retained only if infection was suspected.
The Defensor del Paciente group is demanding an exhaustive enquiry into all the cases, although at least three families have also lodged individual formal complaints with the Huercal-Overa courts.
The families will meet this week to discuss how they can act together as a group so their efforts are better placed. They want an investigation into the hospital and suspect there may be other cases of deaths of babies.