Inspectors investigate the Nottingham NHS trust following three infant deaths

An NHS trust is being investigated by hospital inspectors in relation to the fatalities of three infants. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) may pursue legal action against Nottingham University Hospitals trust in 2021 for the infant fatalities.

A police investigation into the trust's maternity services has already been announced. The trust stated that it would work with the CQC. The investigation is investigating whether the trust failed to provide safe care and treatment during the births of the three infants who died within 14 weeks of one another.

The Nottingham University Hospitals trust is presently the focus of the largest maternity investigation in the history of the NHS, with a review led by the senior midwife, Donna Ockenden, examining approximately 1800 cases.

Nottinghamshire police announced a criminal investigation into the trust's maternity services Thursday.

The deaths under investigation by the CQC occurred at the City Hospital of the trust in April, June, and July of 2021.

According to sources, the CQC is investigating whether staff could have identified that all three mothers had placental abruptions and induced labor sooner if they had done so. This complication, which typically manifests as excessive bleeding in the mother, can deprive the infant of oxygen.

Lorraine Tedeschini, director of operations for the CQC, stated in a statement, "We are actively conducting inquiries to determine whether there is a reasonable suspicion that a criminal offense has been committed." These inquiries are ongoing, and we will provide an update as soon as possible."

An inquest into the death of Quinn Lias Parker, who died at just two days old in July 2021, found that a succession of errors by the hospital had contributed to his death.

The coroner stated that "earlier delivery would have occurred if the significance of the bleeding and discomfort had been recognized as an abruption."

The CQC is also reportedly investigating whether the trust breached its duty of candor to Quinn's family, a legal obligation to be open and honest with patients and their families.

The CQC is also investigating the fatalities of Adele O'Sullivan and Kahlani Rawson, according to reports. 

Adele was only 26 minutes old at the time of her death in April 2021. An investigation revealed a series of lost opportunities in her mother's care, including a delay in diagnosing the cause of her vaginal bleeding, which is a common symptom of placental abruption.

Kahlani died in June 2021 at the age of four days. An investigation determined that there was a delay in performing a Cesarean section. The coroner concluded that Kahlani would have survived if the delay had not occurred.

She also discovered that a placental abruption likely occurred hours earlier, but that CTG scans were "misinterpreted" by staff, leading to "reassurance" about the infant.

In January, the trust was fined £800,000 for failing to provide safe care and treatment to Wynter Andrews and her mother Sarah in 2019, a record for a maternity incident. Wynter died at 23 minutes of age.

Michelle Rhodes, chief nurse for the Nottingham University Hospitals trust, commented on the new CQC investigation stating that the trust is currently providing information to the CQC to support their investigation of the severe incidents that occurred in 2021.

They will await confirmation from the CQC as to whether they intend to pursue a formal prosecution.