A couple who lost their newborn son after delays getting to hospital have launched a legal claim against the ambulance service.

Stephanie and Matt Trott lost their baby Arthur after he suffered a brain injury during a home birth.

An inquest into Arthur’s death found that delays by South East Coast Ambulance Service to transfer Stephanie to hospital contributed to his death.

Now, after their heartbreak, the couple have launched a medical negligence claim to help ensure that other families do not go through the same pain that they have.

Matt, 37, said: “It was the most traumatic thing we have ever experienced.

"You could hear the panic and confusion in everyone’s voices – one minute they were told to go to hospital, the next minute to stay.

"When the critical care paramedic arrived, he was surprised we were still at home because it was such a medical emergency.

“Since Arthur’s death, we both have doubts in the system, whereas we didn’t have those previously.

"We’re more hesitant when asking for help because we don’t know if we can trust professionals.

"We try and come up with the answers ourselves before seeking help at the last minute.”

When paramedics arrived at the couple’s home in Burgess Hill in May 2021, Arthur’s feet had already been delivered.

However, communication breakdowns between ambulance staff and the Princess Royal Hospital meant that by the time they arrived at hospital nearly an hour later, the newborn was being “starved of oxygen”.

Arthur died four days later after being transferred to the neonatal unit of the Royal Sussex County Hospital.

In a prevention of future deaths report, Dr Karen Henderson, assistant coroner for the area of West Sussex, said: “Arthur died following an unexpected breech delivery at home where the delay in transfer to hospital materially contributed to hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy.”

The Argus: Ambulance delays made a 'material contribution' to baby Arthur's deathAmbulance delays made a 'material contribution' to baby Arthur's death (Image: PA)

Following Arthur’s death,  couples are now offered further scans if they are opting for a home birth.

It is said that these scans have so far potentially saved the lives of two other children.

Red emergency phones are also being installed in the labour wards of hospitals so crews have a direct line to midwives and obstetricians, rather than A and E. The first of these phones was installed at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in November 2021.

Stephanie, 33, added: “Any changes are in the right direction and really positive. I broke down at the inquest when I found out two babies had been identified as breech as a result of the scan because Arthur could have potentially saved those children.”


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As a legacy to their son, Stephanie and Matt purchased a four-acre piece of land in East Sussex, named Arthur’s Patch.

Here, they have planted 250 native woodland trees; created a vegetable patch, a pond named after their eight month-old daughter, Primrose, a wildflower area and a children’s play area.

Currently, they open the space up to family and friends on Saturday mornings, but eventually, they hope to create a community space where grieving parents and people suffering other losses can visit in times of need.

A spokesman for South East Coast Ambulance service said: “We would like to take this opportunity to offer our sincere condolences to Mr and Mrs Trott and we welcome any changes to national breech birth guidance aimed at improving maternity care.”

Gail Waller, the family's lawyer from Mayo Wynn Baxter, said:“This really is a heartbreaking and traumatic case.

“There was a window of opportunity, as highlighted at the inquest, when paramedics first arrived on the scene.

"Stephanie should have been taken to the hospital when Arthur was still pink and kicking.

"However, the delay in this happening effectively starved Arthur of oxygen and contributed to his death.

“It is positive that there have been clear learnings from Stephanie and Matt’s tragic experience.

"Both the ambulance trust and the hospital trust have made changes as a result, which will undoubtedly save lives.

"However, these initiatives must be rolled out nationally to prevent other babies dying.”