The couple pay record NHS £ 2.8million on why their fight isn’t over

A 2016 internal report initially revealed that her staff had done nothing wrong and that an infection resulted in Harriet’s death. “There were no infectious agents there, the autopsy showed it,” says Jack. “The coverage is amazing.”

They complained about the report, which led to an external review, but the couple say it was also compromised. It was run by a Birmingham midwife who, during the so-called external assessment, was herself hired as the head midwife at Nottingham University Hospital. The Hawkins discovered that she had changed the wording of the draft report to water down her findings, replacing “the following directly contributed to Harriet’s death” with “the following gaps in care could have been avoided …”

They also learned that Sarah’s notes were missing items and had to use the evidence from her phone bills to push back claims from the hospital, such as the time between Sarah’s contractions had been too long for him. ask to come.

The external review, published in December 2017, found 13 staff failures at the maternity ward and concluded that Harriet’s death was “almost certainly preventable.” He blamed a “poor safety culture, a” lack of leadership “and a” lack of governance when it comes to reporting serious clinical incidents. “

Harriet’s body was kept in the hospital morgue for two years during the investigation, so the family had to wait to arrange for her funeral. To this day, anger drowns their grief.

“I don’t think we were able to grieve at all,” Sarah says. “I get loads of flashbacks and I remember everything about this room – the clock, the lights.”

For Jack, it’s the clinical environment. “I really struggle with hospital beds now,” he says. “I remember you in bed, holding you, holding myself, just feeling horrible.”

Neither was able to return to work. “Even the idea of ​​putting on a uniform gave me flashbacks,” Sarah says. The Trust terminated Jack’s contract at Queen’s Medical Center, a Nottingham University Hospital Trust, in late 2017 and initially said it would pay Sarah up to two weeks after Harriet’s funeral. After a lawyer intervened, they continued to do so until the case was resolved.

A fortnight ago Sarah and Jack started a Facebook group for other parents whose babies have been injured or died at the Trust maternity hospital. “We already have 56 members,” says Sarah. “What’s worrying is that there will be people who don’t know. If we hadn’t been clinical we would have thought, “It’s really sad that she died of an infection.”

From 2010 to 2020, 46 babies sustained brain damage and 19 were stillborn in Nottingham hospitals, according to a Channel 4 News survey. There have been 34 investigations into the Trust’s maternity following adverse incidents since 2018, according to the BBC.

Others are already carrying civil cases, but Sarah and Jack want to reunite the families and campaign for a public inquiry. More than sixty families have come forward for a clinical commissioning group review, which is ongoing. The Trust admitted it did not investigate 35 cases similar to Harriet’s from 2014 to 2017, following an external review.

Baker believes the actual number of babies who have died is much higher. She has heard from over 45 families who have had stillbirths or neonatal deaths, and her cabinet represents 27 of them.

“An obstetric anesthesiologist at the Trust told me that he stayed beyond retirement to make sure his daughter was well cared for when she gave birth there,” says Baker. “These are the same mistakes that are made over and over again. The last case I’m aware of was an incident in early November, so it’s still happening. “

A Quality of Care Commission report on the two maternities at the Nottingham University Hospital Trust this year concluded that the services were “insufficient”.

A spokesperson for Nottingham University Hospitals said: “We are so sorry that we let Mr and Mrs Hawkins and baby Harriet down in care in 2016 and did not learn quickly enough from our mistakes.” They added that they are fully cooperating with the independent maternity examination. “We are committed to learning from our mistakes and, with the support of our dedicated staff, to making our maternity service a service we can be proud of,” they said.

Nottingham is not the only problem area. “It’s popping up all over the place,” says Baker. “There are things brewing in Doncaster and Basildon. More money is needed for doctors, midwives and training. They need to notice when things are going wrong and intervene.

In other major scandals, 12 mothers and 40 babies have died in Shrewsbury and Telford, while 15 babies have died in East Kent.

When we speak on Zoom, Sarah and Jack’s two year old daughter yells, “Daddy, daddy! Just off the screen and he pauses to build a puzzle with her.

The Hawkins rescued and borrowed from their family to have Lottie privately in the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in London, where the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth. But the pain is still very present with them.

“With every step that Lottie goes through, I wish I got this for Harriet,” Sarah says. “I feel like Lottie’s innocence is being stolen. How can we not pass on our trauma to him? “

“I cry quite often,” Jack adds. “Especially at Christmas, knowing that her six year old sister should be there to tease her by telling her that Santa Claus doesn’t exist.” Poor Harriet, she didn’t deserve this.