Harold Wood mother who lost her 12-day-old daughter sends out warning

Alice Defreipas gave birth to her daughter Lilly at Queen's Hospital on February 29. She was born wi

Alice Defreipas gave birth to her daughter Lilly at Queen's Hospital on February 29. She was born with Whooping Cough. Midwives and doctors missed it and the baby sadly died at less than two weeks old. - Credit: Archant

A grieving mother whose newborn daughter died when she was just 12 days old after contracting whooping cough has urged other parents to be vigilant.

Alice Defreipas, 21, of Nightingale Crescent, Harold Wood, had been ill with whooping cough throughout her pregnancy.

Although she was instructed to get a vaccination, complications arising from her daughter’s position in the womb meant she missed her appointment.

Baby Lilly was born on February 29 and within a day she had started coughing.

“There’s a lot of stuff out there that says whooping cough can kill babies, so of course I was worried,” Alice told the Recorder,


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“I asked my midwife if I should be breastfeeding, because I was still ill, and she told me the best thing to help make her healthy was for me to keep breastfeeding.

“It was only when she started throwing up after I was feeding her that I thought ‘something’s not right’ and took her to hospital.”

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On the morning of March 3 Alice took her daughter back to hospital, where she was diagnosed with pneumonia in her right lung as a result of untreated whooping cough.

Lilly never recovered, and she died on March 12. Last week, Alice met with one of her pre-natal doctors and the hospital’s head midwife to discuss the details of Lilly’s case.

Alice said: “They apologised for what happened, but that’s not going to bring my daughter back. They had a duty of care to me and my daughter and they failed.

“I’m a normal person, I’ve not got any medical training so when they told me it was normal and not to worry I believed them.

“I just want to make parents are aware that mistakes are still made, and you can’t just think that because a medical professional tells you not to worry you shouldn’t.”

Kathryn Halford, chief nurse at Queen’s Hospital, Rom Valley Way, Romford, said: “This must be a very distressing time for Lilly’s family.

“Our thoughts are with them and we are very sorry for their loss.

“We have met with the family to discuss their complaint and will continue to talk to them to address any questions they may have.”

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