The admission of problems by the East of England Ambulance Service after the tragic death of a baby is welcomed as a step in the right direction, as the little girl’s mother takes her case to law.
Three-month-old Bella Hellings, from Thetford, died on 11 March after mum Amy Carter had put in an emergency call because Bella had suffered a fit and stopped breathing. But there were a series of delays, including the ambulance getting lost on the way to the hospital. Bella was eventually delivered to West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, but too late to save her.
Bella’s distraught mum is desperate to find out exactly what happened to her baby, and is taking her case to the law. “It’s impossible to imagine the terror and anguish of Bella’s parents as they went through delay after delay in trying to get urgent treatment for their baby,” says Sharon Allison, a specialist in medical negligence at Ashton KCJ.
"It’s every parent’s nightmare. Amy and her partner, Scott Hellings, are still in shock and the grief is still very raw, but they are desperate to find out how their child’s death could have happened. We can’t say very much at the moment because we’re still in the early stages of compiling evidence. Also, the inquest has been open and adjourned and it would be improper to make any assertions regarding Bella’s death until the coroner has completed his task. But whatever the outcome, we know that the ambulance service has admitted to five deaths in one month after delays were recorded. Though that statistic is truly shocking, we can at least applaud what seems to be a change of attitude. In the past, it seems quite possible that such serious incidents might have been covered up. But after all the past allegations about the service, there seems to be a new realization of the duty of candour which health professionals should owe to their patients and to the public.”
No date has yet been fixed for the resumption of the inquest.