Bereaved Peterborough dad’s five year fight for answers after daughter’s death

Simon, Michelle and Darcey
Simon, Michelle and Darcey
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A bereaved dad who has been fighting for answers for five years since his daughter died is demanding a new investigation be launched into her death.

Simon Bates is calling on the East of England Ambulance Service to reopen its review into the stillbirth of his baby girl Darcey in January 2014.

Simon and Michelle at Darcey's grave

Simon and Michelle at Darcey's grave

Mr Bates, from Walton, and partner Michelle want answers as to why the ambulance service allegedly downgraded the couple’s 999 call to non life-threatening on the day of Darcey’s death when a heavily pregnant Michelle was bleeding a lot at home.

The couple - who have a second daughter called Summer (aged six) - claim Michelle was told to lie flat on the floor, and that it took nearly an hour for an ambulance to arrive and take her to Peterborough City Hospital. Darcey was born stillborn, while Mr Bates said a very ill Michelle needed a three litre blood transfusion to keep her alive.

Mr Bates is now asking the Care Quality Commission in Cambridgeshire for an investigation into Darcey’s death, while he is also petitioning health secretary Matt Hancock.

He added: “This has given me PTSD. I go to the grave regularly and my daughter knows she has a baby sister in Heaven. We have to live with it every day. I’m going keep fighting until we get the answers.”

Currently, coroners are only allowed to investigate the death of a baby that has shown signs of life.

The ambulance service carried out an investigation in 2014 which Mr Bates was unhappy with. It recently refused to reopen the investigation claiming too much time had passed. A spokesperson for the service said: “We are unable to comment on individual cases.”

Mr Bates met recently with senior clinicians at Peterborough City Hospital who agreed to look at whether it should re-open its 2014 investigation into Darcey’s death.

But, head of midwifery Fran Stephens said: “The clinical team has now met to review the facts of the case, and has concluded that a further investigation will not result in any new outcomes.”

MP for Peterborough Fiona Onasanya raised Darcey’s death in the House of Commons in February 2018 and claimed there had been a “catalogue of failures”. She had not responded to a request for comment at the time of going to press. Mr Bates’ petition can be viewed at: https://www.change.org/p/matthew-hancock-mp-demanding-that-the-east-of-england-ambulance-trust-re-investigate-my-baby-s-death.