A healthy unborn child was aborted by mistake when doctors confused the baby with its sick twin at Birmingham Hospital. The babies’ unidentified mother made the decision to have one baby ‘selectively aborted’ after scans showed he or she was suffering from restricted growth.
Both babies ended up dying after the botched abortion in which surgeons mistakenly targeted the wrong twin, which took place in in 2019 at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.
The devastating incident was one of 700 NHS errors which resulted in deaths across England, a new report has revealed. The babies’ deaths were revealed during a Freedom of Information Act survey, the Sunday Express reports. Other incidents uncovered in the recent survey included patients being discharged too soon, falling from trolleys, or not receiving correct tests or medications; all leading to unnecessary deaths. Another unborn baby died after a delay in performing a vital heart scan at the Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust in Harlow, Essex.
Referring to the twins’ deaths, a spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said: “Selective fetal growth restriction is a condition that occurs in around 10 to 20 percent of twin pregnancies when one of the babies does not receive enough nourishment through the placenta to grow at a normal rate.
“In the most serious cases, selective termination can improve the survival chances of the normally grown fetus at the expense of the severely growth-restricted co-twin. “However, all such procedures can carry an increased risk of early or total pregnancy loss.
“Parents who undergo selective terminations of twin pregnancies face agonising decisions and report feelings of anxiety, stress and emotional trauma. They must be supported by their clinical team both during and after their pregnancy.”
Dr Fiona Reynolds, chief medical officer at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Trust, described the abortion which took the lives of both twins as a “highly specialised fetal procedure” during which a “fatal error occurred”
“A full and comprehensive investigation was carried out swiftly after this tragic case and the findings were shared with the family, along with our sincere apologies and condolences,” she said.
“The outcome of that thorough review has led to a new protocol being developed to decrease the likelihood of such an incident happening again,” she stated.
A total of 210,860 abortions were reported in England and Wales in 2020, the highest since records began according to the Department of Health. In 2020, there were 65 abortions in England and Wales which were selective (involving more than one baby); in 2019, 126 such abortions were carried out on multiple pregnancies as a method of reduction.
Meanwhile, Ireland’s abortion statistics for 2020 were released in July, continuing to show a large increase in the number of Irish abortions since the repeal of the 8th Amendment in 2019. In addition to the huge number of lives lost by abortion, our nation’s abortion ratio (the number of abortions compared to live births) increased compared to 2019.
In 2020, 6577 abortions were carried out on unborn babies in Ireland. That figure can be added to the 194 abortions carried out on Irish women in England and Wales last year, meaning “Irish” 6771 abortions were performed last year in 2020.
The 2018 Act which legalised abortion in Ireland does not require in-depth reporting of statistics unlike the detailed annual abortion report for England and Wales. It is impossible to know the number of abortions carried out because the baby was a twin or a triplet, or part of another type of multiple pregnancy.
The shocking and deeply disturbing case bears a striking familiarity with the horrific 2019 case of Irish baby Christopher Kiely.
Gript previously reported that baby Christopher, who was aborted in the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin, called for change after winning their High Court action against the hospital, five consultants and the laboratory who mistakenly said their unborn son had Trisomy 18.
The distressing case shocked the nation – happening in March 2019, happening just three months after then Minister for Health Simon Harris rushed his abortion bill through the Dáil. In response to the case, parents from the support group Every Life Counts said that they had tried to warn that parents would feel pushed into abortion without safeguards if the 8th was repealed, but the Health Minister refused to meet them.
The tragedy which occurred just across the water in Birmingham is similarly likely to raise vital questions about the level of support and resources offered to parents receiving a poor prenatal diagnosis in both Ireland and in the U.K.