Mum angry after baby was born at Northampton General Hospital with a hole in her head - and no one noticed

Hospital has apologised and changed its practices to avoid mistake happening again but mum is still angry

By Jack Duggan
Friday, 18th June 2021, 3:26 pm
Updated Friday, 18th June 2021, 3:28 pm
Hayley Allen's child Thea Herbert was born with a hole in her head caused by a fetal heart probe

A baby was born at Northampton General Hospital with a hole in its head because of a midwife's error during labour.

But no one realised until a few days later when it had become infected so the little girl had to spend even longer in hospital.

The hospital has apologised to the family from Billing Aquadrome and changed its practices to ensure it does not happen again.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

(L-R) Hayley Allen, Elsie-Mae Herbert, Thea Herbert and Ben Herbert

But mother Hayley Allen said she is still angered by the birth last year, which left baby Thea with a scar, and wants to warn other expectant parents.

"It was very scary at the time - I didn't know if she would have any damage in the long run but she's fine now, the hole's cleared so she's just got a scar and hair won't grow there," she told the Chronicle & Echo.

"I just want to get the story out there and warn others to know this can happen."

On August 4, 2020, Hayley went into an induced labour and the midwife decided to apply a fetal heart probe onto the baby's head to monitor its heart rate.

But it caused the 26-year-old a lot of pain as the cap and wire were fed down her birth canal and onto the unborn child, which was squirming around so much another midwife had to lean on her bump to keep her still.

Twenty minutes later and it was attached, and at 1.31am the next morning, Thea was born with a head-full of dark hair like her father, Ben Herbert, 22.

They left hospital two nights later and noticed nothing out of the ordinary, other than a slight cheesy smell on Thea's head, but Hayley just thought her hair needed washing.

A few days after that, the family went to The Venue at Billing Aquadrome where she could really notice the smell and her mother pulled her hair back to discover the hole.

They rushed Thea to A&E at NGH where the doctors told Hayley it was infected, so the days-old baby had to spend another five days in hospital.

To add to their traumatic experience, Thea suffered a seizure a couple of days after leaving the ward so she had to go back for another two nights.

"The hospital has put in place measures so it doesn't happen again when they take the probe out so there's no damage to other babies' heads," she said.

"And I've had an apology from the head midwife but nothing from the midwife that actually did it and I'm very angry about it still.

"I don't want it to happen to any other babies as it was horrible."

Hayley had already had one traumatic pregnancy when a fire broke out in the hospital while she was in labour with her first child, Elsie-Mae, in 2017.

She was moved from her ward bed to an office during her contractions but fortunately the alarm went off in time for her to return to the bed and give birth.

Hayley did not think it could be much worse the second time around but was proved wrong - she is just glad both girls are healthy now.

An NGH spokesperson said: "It is always upsetting when we have incidents like this and we are sorry that Hayley’s daughter developed an infection last year.

"At the time we worked with Hayley to investigate the incident and provided an open and honest response.

"We would like to thank Hayley for raising her concerns and as a result of the investigation we were able to change some of our processes with the aim of preventing this type of incident occurring again.

"If the family would like to discuss this in any further detail with us we would ask them to contact us directly."