Premature baby left to die in Mum’s arms – hospital sorry

A mother whose baby was left to die after being born at 22 weeks has received an apology from hospital chiefs four years after the incident.

In 2010 Tracy Godwin discovered, six weeks after her son died in her arms, that Southend University Hospital had a policy not to resuscitate babies born under 23 weeks – she was not made aware of this before the birth.

Godwin’s son Tom weighed just 1lb when he was born. He died 46 minutes later and staff did nothing to try to keep him alive.


“They put him in my arms and he cried and was wriggling around. I could feel him breathing and see his eyelashes and toes.

“But I kept thinking, ‘Where’s the incubator?’ We were begging the midwives to do something to help him but no one was saying anything. He was not stillborn, he was trying to live.

“If they had tried for an hour and said they couldn’t do anything more for him or he was severely brain-damaged that would have been different, but he wasn’t given a chance”, she explained.


Each individual NHS trust can devise its own guidelines on resuscitating babies born between 22 and 23 weeks.

An inquest earlier this month found that there had been failings in the hospital’s care of Godwin and her baby.

But the coroner, Caroline Beasley-Murray, said that baby Tom died from natural causes and the failings in care did not affect the outcome.


Babies born at 22 weeks have around one per cent chance of survival.

Miss Godwin has now received undisclosed damages from Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and it has since introduced further training for staff and a review on early birth procedures.

She welcomed the outcome: “This ordeal has brought about significant change at the hospital and the fact that no other mother will go through what I went through is a positive that I will cherish.

“I now want mothers-to-be up and down the country to be aware of my case and the fact that each trust has its own guidelines in place which pregnant women must find out about.”

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