Parents of Yorkshire twins who died in hospital speak out after opportunities to save them were missed

The parents of twins who died at a maternity unit in Yorkshire said they “still can’t really believe what happened” after an inquest found that opportunities to save the boys were missed.

Harry and Henry Jackson were delivered at the Jessop Wing in Sheffield in June in 2021, after doctors became concerned about their heart rates.

Harry was delivered stillborn and Henry, who was in a poor condition, died six days later, an inquest at Sheffield’s Medico-Legal Centre heard this week.

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Their mother Siobhan Weir, 22, had been admitted to the unit three times that month, due to severe vomiting, and she also complained of abdominal pain after her third admission.

Siobhan Weir and Luke Jackson, with their son Henry

On June 16, the day before the births, she asked medics to refrain from scanning her twins’ heart rates, because she was in severe pain, but was not told this carried serious risks.

A report produced by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the unit, shows she was diagnosed with severe nausea in pregnancy at around 9am that day, but medics did not consider any other causes for her symptoms.

An amylase test to establish whether she had gastrointestinal illness was not requested until nearly seven hours later and the results were not viewed until nearly 10.20am the following day.

After the mother was diagnosed with pancreatitis on June 17 and a scan of her babies’ heart rates was classed as abnormal, an emergency caesarean was performed.

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The hospital trust’s Serious Incident Investigation Report found there were “missed opportunities to investigate” the cause of her sickness during her pregnancy, staff did not take the appropriate action when she declined the heart rate scans and did not report her deteriorating condition to specialist obstetricians.

During the inquest representatives of the NHS trust admitted there were “failings” and “missed opportunities”, as the twins could have survived if they had been delivered sooner.

The trust apologised to Ms Weir and her partner Luke Jackson, 24, who were both represented by medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell.

Ms Weir said: “More than a year on we still can’t really believe what happened and how both Harry and Henry didn’t make it.

“It’s impossible to put into words how difficult it remains trying to come to terms with how Henry and Harry died. It’s difficult not to think how things could be different and both the boys could be at home growing up and starting to cause mischief.

“Nothing will ever fill the void in our lives. I don’t think we’ll ever get over losing Harry and Henry and we will continue to think about them every single day. They will always be a part of our family and we’ll never stop loving them.”

The unit was rated inadequate in June 2021 by the Care Quality Commission, which raised serious safety concerns and said urgent action was required as mothers and babies were at risk of harm.

Dr Jennifer Hill, Medical Director, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “The heartbreak that Siobhan, Luke and their wider family have suffered by losing two precious babies is something which will stay with them forever and I realise that an apology will never be enough to alleviate that loss.

“We fully acknowledge that whilst our staff work hard to provide good care for women and their babies, during Siobhan’s admission on June 16, 2021 we failed to detect the deterioration in her condition quickly enough.

“We have taken what happened very seriously and conducted a full review of how and why it happened.

“We have already made initial changes to our processes and staff training and are continuing to embed further changes to limit the chances of anything similar happening again.”