Inquest hears of Bosham mother’s fear ahead of baby’s death

Jo Meeke and Matt Gurney, who lost their baby son, Puck, in March 2017, just hours after his birth
Jo Meeke and Matt Gurney, who lost their baby son, Puck, in March 2017, just hours after his birth

A mother whose newborn baby died in hospital told an inquest she felt ‘really scared’ and did not know ‘what was going on’ before she underwent a caesarean section.

Jo Meeke, 39, had planned to give birth to Puck Meeke-Gurney, her first child, at her home in Brooks Lane, Bosham.

An inquest heard that the first few hours of her labour on March 15, 2017, had been fine – but she was driven to St Richard’s Hospital by her partner Matt Gurney after she began to feel ‘severe pain’.

The couple arrived at the Chichester hospital at 10.30am and, despite having phoned ahead, waited an hour and a half before being seen by a midwife, according to Ms Meeke, who said she was in ‘constant pain’.

Ms Meeke said: “We were left on our own for quite a long time without really knowing what was going on.

“I just remember the panic of things not happening quickly. I was really scared.”

She said she felt ‘very distressed’ by fears that because she had originally planned for a home birth, that ‘action wasn’t taken when it should have been’.

“It’s something that I have to live with for the rest of my life,” she told the inquest at West Sussex Coroner’s Court in Crawley on Tuesday, January 16.

Helen Fecher, a labour ward coordinator, said that results from a cardiotocography, which records the heartbeat of the foetus, had been ‘suspicious’ – but the couple said they were not informed of concerns.

The inquest heard that doctors feared a potential placental abruption – in which the placenta separates from the uterus.

Dr Ibrahim Elshazly, specialist registrar, said a decision was made at 5pm to monitor the situation for an hour.

If Ms Meeke’s condition had improved, a natural birth was still possible, he said, but if not, a caesarean section would be required.

However Ms Meeke’s situation deteriorated and a decision to carry out a caesarean section was made at 6.15pm, the inquest heard.

Baby Puck was delivered thirty minutes later at St Richard’s and transferred to University Hospital Southampton neo-natal Unit, where he died the following day.

The inquest in Crawley continues today, with Mr Matthew Jolly, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, due to give evidence.