What should have been a very happy day for Meg and James Flaskett turned out to be very much the opposite, following the devastating loss of their newborn daughter, Thea, shortly after her birth at Redcliffe Hospital.
The Beginning of a Dream
Meg, 21, and James Flaskett, 22, were living a dream come true. Recently married and having secured their own home, they were ecstatic about the arrival of their first child.
The couple had been preparing a Winnie-the-Pooh-themed nursery, eagerly anticipating the addition to their family. Meg described her pregnancy as uncomplicated until the 38-week mark when she noticed a concerning decrease in Thea’s movements and growth.
Despite her instincts signalling that something was amiss, Meg’s concerns were not taken as seriously as she had hoped.
“I just had this instinct that something wasn’t quite right,” she shared.
Her request for a ceasarean section was overridden by the hospital’s decision to induce labour for a vaginal birth.
A Day of Turmoil
On the day of the induction, Meg was admitted to Redcliffe Hospital in the evening, but her procedure was delayed due to the hospital being extremely busy. The alleged delay in treatment and a series of alleged missteps during the labour added to the family’s distress.
“We had her on my chest for about eight minutes, while they were going back and forth whether she needed help,” Meg recalled the harrowing experience.
When Thea was born, she was not the crying, vibrant newborn they had hoped for but appeared blueish and groaning. The situation turned dire when the medical team discovered that the oxygen tank needed for resuscitation was empty.
“It just seemed like no one knew how to change that life-saving equipment that our baby quite clearly needed,” the mother said.
Despite eventually receiving oxygen, it was apparently too late.
“Thea wasn’t displaying signs of brain activity anymore, her organs were shutting down, and if we wanted to hold her, now would be the time,” Meg said, recounting the devastating news they received.
Investigations and Hospital Response
The incident has triggered a clinical review by Redcliffe Hospital, and separate investigations by the coroner and Health Ombudsman are in progress. However, the hospital’s medical director of children’s health, Kim Hansen, has not conceded any staff errors.
“We’re waiting for the details from the internal review and the Coroner’s findings and that will give us more information about what happened,” she said.
On the other hand, Metro North Health and Hospital Service found “no evidence of any equipment being faulty or of clinical staff being unable to operate equipment appropriately.”
Looking for Answers and Change
The tragedy has not only devastated the Flaskett family but also raised significant concerns about healthcare standards and practices. Meg and James are now advocating for changes to prevent similar incidents.
The Queensland Deputy Premier, Steven Miles, acknowledged the tragedy but denied systemic failures in the health sector.
As investigations continue, the community awaits answers, hoping for improvements that ensure such a tragedy as the case of Thea Flaskett does not recur.