Baby died after mother given abortion pill by hospital when 30 weeks pregnant

A baby died after his mother was given an abortion pill by a hospital when she was 30 weeks pregnant, an inquest heard. The mother believed she was 12 weeks pregnant and had decided to legally abort the pregnancy on health grounds.

But she was 30 weeks pregnant and the mum from East Yorkshire gave birth in a toilet at York Hospital after taking abortion medicine. Distressing evidence was heard at the inquest in Hull on Monday with no family present and all evidence was in written form, Hull Live reports.

The inquest heard that the mother had gone to York Hospital on October 26, 2021 for the treatment, but that scans were either not carried out or were done erroneously. The mum gave birth to the baby in the hospital toilet after taking the drug mifepristone.

Staff realised the baby was alive and immediately began to resuscitate him. Named Ronnie by his parents, the baby was rushed to the Jessop Wing maternity unit in Sheffield where desperate attempts were made to save him.

He had suffered a number of problems, including multiple organ failure, and was seriously unwell. Ronnie was placed on a ventilator and received maximum life support care.

Despite battling for four days, Ronnie sadly died four days later on October 30. A serious incident investigation was carried out by independent medical practitioner Jacqui Evans.

She found the “volume of patients had severely increased” which “increased the time taken to assess patients”. She said there has been an “information overload” and staff had “too much to do”.

She also raised concerns about the communication between staff due to the “severe internal pressure”. She concluded that had the patient been referred earlier, it is likely the advanced pregnancy would have been identified, Ms Evans said.

She said the baby would then have been born in a suitable department and in an appropriate manner. While Ronnie was born prematurely, in normal circumstances a baby born at 31 weeks would have a 95 per cent chance of survival.

Senior coroner Professor Paul Marks praised the staff who acted quickly to try and save Ronnie. He said they should be “commended for this”. He said that had the true length of pregnancy been identified correctly and if the baby had been born in an appropriate setting he would probably have survived. Prof Marks delivered a narrative conclusion into Ronnie’s death.

He said: “Ronnie was born alive on October 26, 2021, after a legal termination of pregnancy by the internal use of drug mifepristone. He was deemed as being viable and was resuscitated and then treated at the Jessop Wing in Sheffield. Despite this, his condition deteriorated relentlessly.”

The conclusion confirmed Ronnie died at the Jessop Wing, predominantly due to brain damage.