TRAGIC LOSS: Kirsty Bailey with her 21-week-old baby Sophie, who passed away in 2010.
TRAGIC LOSS: Kirsty Bailey with her 21-week-old baby Sophie, who passed away in 2010. Contributed

Couple still reeling after sudden death of tiny Sophie

KIRSTY Bailey says she never thought when she went to the Rockhampton Hospital with a blood clot at 21 weeks pregnant that she would be going home three days later without her baby.

It's now six years on from the death of her 21-week-old daughter, Sophie and although the years have passed, the scars of losing her third child remain.

She said the question of "what if" still haunted her and husband Adam from time to time.

Memories of the loss have recently resurfaced for the Gracemere couple after hearing about the recent independent review that's being launched into safety systems in the maternity unit at Rockhampton Hospital following the death of a baby and the injury of three others in the past 12 months.

Kirsty, 36, believes things could have ended differently for her daughter if doctors had listened to her concerns.

"I went to the hospital at 9pm with a blood clot the size of a pawpaw and I was told to stay overnight but that nothing would be done until the next morning," she said.

"At 1am I knew something wasn't right, I felt like I was going into labour and I was in a lot of pain. They took me to the labour ward and monitored Sophie's heart rate which was fine.

"My stomach kept expanding, it got so big my chest was up around my face and I kept telling doctors something was wrong but they just kept telling me the baby was moving. They kept trying to lie me down but it was so painful and I tried to tell them that something wasn't right."

Kirsty said her instincts were right.

She said she was bleeding internally and starting to drown in her own blood. After seeing "a handful" of different doctors one doctor came in and told Adam she had 45 minutes to live and that she needed an emergency surgery. She required six units of blood, four units of plasma and two bags of fluid.

"No one told me she was bleeding internally, there was no communication at all," Adam said.

"I was told by the doctor, who's responsible for saving Kirsty's life, that Sophie's heart rate was fine on the way to surgery and that there was a chance she could survive but after the surgery I got taken into a room with my mother-in-law and was told Sophie had died."

Sophie passed away during the emergency surgery.

The doctors told the couple that Sophie passed away as a result of "these things sometimes happening".

But Kirsty and Adam have never fully understood what caused their daughter's death and felt as though there was a lack of communication from staff.

Adam said he hoped their story would help new parents understand the importance of trusting their instincts.

"My biggest piece of advice to anyone is that your instincts are nearly always right," Adam said.

"You shouldn't stop until you feel like you've been listened to and your concerns have been acted on."

The Morning Bulletin contacted the Rockhampton Hospital for a response.

The hospital's executive director of medical services, Dr David Cooper said he was truly sorry for Mrs Bailey's loss. 

 "I am truly sorry and very disappointed it has been six years and she still doesn't have the answers she seeks," Dr Cooper said.   

"I am offering to meet with Mrs Bailey and one of our specialist obstetricians to go through her concerns in detail.  

"I do not believe it is appropriate to cause further distress by discussing clinical details in public, except to say this was a tragic, but unavoidable event, and I offer my sincere condolences to Mrs Bailey."