A family have been left devastated after a critical heart defect was missed at pregnancy scans, and their newborn daughter died days after being born.
Jazmine Sands Sheehan and her partner Kevin, from Ireland, cared for their daughter Isabella for six days before she died and they had to take her home from hospital in a car seat.
The couple have opened up about their heartbreak to the Irish Independent, describing how all of the routine pregnancy scans seemed fine, and no one guessed there would be a problem with their baby’s heart.
Jazmine and Kevin have thanked hospital staff for the care they gave to Isabella, and have now launched a campaign to raise awareness for more pregnancy scans.
Recalling the moment her little girl was born, Jazmine says, ‘Isabella was born on May 23 and she weighed five pounds and one ounce. Everything was perfect. She screamed at birth, we had kisses and hugs and cuddles. Everything seemed fine.’
It was only afterwards that doctors became worried, moving the family from Kerry to a Dublin hospital for specialist care. Jazmine explained that Isabella had a heart defect, ‘She was diagnosed with a serious heart defect. The doctors in Dublin even consulted with doctors at Great Ormond Street in London. But the London doctors were amazed that Isabella had even been born alive given the condition of her poor heart’.
Jazmine told the Irish Independent that it was a shock to find out how serious the condition was, not realising that nothing would be able to help her baby girl. She said, ‘On the Thursday morning we were taken into a private room and told that there was nothing could be done for Isabella. I had a notebook and pen ready for whatever treatment plan the doctors would advise. Unfortunately there was no plan, nothing could be done and we were going to lose her. Her poor heart was too badly deformed’.
Isabella died six days after she was born on the 23rd May. Jazmine and Kevin took her home, strapping her into a car seat with a letter from the hospital in case they were stopped by police. This heart-wrenching experience is something they want to stop ever happening to someone else, ‘Kevin and myself were so distraught all we wanted to do was get home.
‘It was only afterwards we wondered about it. If we’d known a little earlier, we could have prepared ourselves and prepared our seven year old son, Keelan. We would have been prepared for the fact that we weren’t going to be bringing Isabella home the way we wanted to. We never, in our worst moment, ever thought we would be bringing our little girl home dead and strapped into a baby seat in our car’.
Jazmine has since expressed her gratitude to the hospital staff and confirmed she has no issues with the doctors or hospital, but now wants to spread awareness for more thorough pregnancy scans.
The mum is now launching a campaign in Isabella’s memory, for all pregnant women to get a special screening for possible infant heart abnormalities during the later stage of their pregnancy.
Jazmine says, ‘My ultimate goal, in Isabella’s name, is to now have everybody who is expecting to be fully screened during their pregnancy. The heart is the vital organ in the body that every unborn child should be screened for possible defects or abnormalities with’.