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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 May, 2004, 10:42 GMT 11:42 UK
Placenta mislaid after stillbirth
Linda Turnock
Linda Turnock's baby Jessica was stillborn in January
A mother from Stoke-on-Trent says she cannot find out why her baby died because a hospital mislaid her placenta after putting it in a taxi.

Linda Turnock says the University Hospital of North Staffordshire told her the placenta was sent for tests after her daughter died in the womb.

The hospital has apologised and says it is investigating the matter.

It also admitted it was not the first time a placenta had been lost, and said it was tightening up its procedures.

Mrs Turnock was 38 weeks pregnant when her daughter, Jessica, was stillborn in January.

It makes you scared to try for another baby because you don't know if the same thing could happen again
Craig Turnock
Referring to the lost placenta, she said: "I did ask if it had happened before, and they said twice before.

"They said they were going to tighten things up, but they obviously haven't because it's happened to me."

Mrs Turnock, from Cobridge, had two miscarriages before the stillbirth and became diabetic after the birth of another daughter, Sophie.

She hoped the tests on the placenta would reveal if there was a reason for her difficulties in pregnancy.

'No answers'

Her husband Craig said the uncertainty was making them reluctant to try for another child.

"We don't know if it was anything to do with the placenta being wrong or anything to do with Linda being diabetic.

"We've just got no answers - it makes you scared to try for another baby because you don't know if the same thing could happen again."

A statement from the University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust said: "The trust extends its sympathy to Mr and Mrs Turnock on the loss of their baby and apologises for the distress caused by the difficulties which have occurred since.

'Breakdown in systems'

"The trust confirms that it was planned that the placenta should be sent to Birmingham Women's Hospital for tests.

"It also confirms that there is no record of receipt of the placenta at the laboratory.

"The trust put new systems in place after an earlier similar incident to try to prevent any recurrence. It is clear that there has been a breakdown in these systems.

"The current investigation will focus on identifying that breakdown and further improvements that may be necessary."

The hospital has not confirmed whether it did place the placenta in a taxi or who was responsible for losing it.

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