A mother has called for a re-think of medical guidelines after doctors left her baby who was born at 22 weeks to die.
Sophie Dennis was told by doctors at a hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne that her daughter Autumn was not ‘viable’ for help.
Official guidance from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists states that only after 25 weeks is there a “general agreement that active management should be offered”.
Left to die
Doctors advised that they would leave Autumn to die
Sophie calculated that she was 22 weeks and six days pregnant when she gave birth to Autumn, who weighed only 410 grams.
But doctors disagreed, saying she was 22 weeks and two days pregnant.
Sophie said she was “in shock” when doctors advised that they would leave Autumn to die.
“I didn’t feel we had that option to fight for her.” She added: “What if I had pushed for it, would she still be here? Would she be in an incubator thriving?”
Last month, it was reported that the rate of extremely premature babies surviving has dramatically improved at the same hospital in Newcastle.
Sophie pointed out that Autumn was “one day off that at birth” but only received “cuddle comfort” before she died.
“She was a human being, she was another life. She had rights and so did we as her parents but they were taken away from us and decided for us that night.”
A spokesman for Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust said: “Our thoughts are with Mrs Dennis and her family at this very difficult time.”
Sophie is now petitioning for babies born at 22 weeks to be given equivalent treatment by medical professionals as babies born after the 24-week abortion limit.
Currently if a baby is born up to 24 weeks into pregnancy, it is up to the doctors’ discretion whether the child is treated or not.
The petition has already received over 16,000 signatures.