The inquest into the death of Jessica Harland who died shortly after her birth in October 2017 has been told that the child may have survived if the ambulance treating her mother had travelled to the hospital on blue lights.

Jessica’s mother Sarah Grimes suffered heavy blood loss 35 weeks into her pregnancy. She called midwives who advised her to call an ambulance. A paramedic and Emergency Medical Technician were dispatched and arrived at her home at 4.31pm. They should have spent no more than 10 minutes assessing Ms Grimes before taking her to hospital on blue lights. Instead they spent 20 minutes doing the assessment before taking her to hospital without the blue lights through rush hour traffic. They arrived at 5.26pm where Ms Grimes was rushed into surgery when doctors realised the seriousness of her condition.

Ms Grimes suffered a placental abruption and baby Jessica passed away an hour after she was delivered by caesarean section.

The coroner was told that Jessica was ‘more likely’ to have survived if Ms Grimes had arrived just 15 minutes earlier than she did.

Coroner Joanne Kearsley recorded a narrative conclusion and told the inquest: “Time was critical and nobody can say what would have happened, but on the balance of probabilities, had she been admitted to hospital earlier, the placental abruption would not have occurred and Jessica would have been delivered earlier, meaning she may have survived.”

Richard Baker represented Jessica Harland’s family and was instructed by Switalskis Solicitors.


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