Mad Men Star Jamie King 'Deeply Shocked' After Police Drop Investigation into His 5-Day-Old Son's Death: Report
The British actor's son Benjamin died from severe brain damage five days after being born by emergency caesarean section on May 5, 2016
Ten months after the death of his 5-day-old son, Jamie King still doesn’t have the answers he’s so desperately seeking.
This week, U.K. police officially dropped their investigation into the death of the British actor’s son Benjamin, who died from severe brain damage less than a week after being born by emergency Caesarean section on May 5, 2016.
“Following a referral from the coroner in this case, we have reviewed the matter,” reads a statement from the Avon and Somerset Police Department obtained by PEOPLE. “At this time, there is insufficient evidence to refer this matter to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for consideration. We have communicated our findings to the coroner.”
According to multiple reports, on May 4, Benjamin’s mother Tamara Podemski, a Canadian actress, was 14 days overdue and rushed to the Royal United Hospital (RUH) in Bath, Somerset, after a nurse at a local clinic spotted an abnormality on a scan.
According to The Telegraph, doctors told her they could not perform a Caesarean section for six hours because she had been given a hospital meal which needed to be digested. A C-section was subsequently scheduled for that evening, but an emergency case then took priority over Podemski. Podemski’s C-section was rescheduled for the following morning, and the couple was sent home.
King told The Guardian that staff at the hospital “ignored our objections and they sent us home.”
“We believed them when they said it was safe to go home,” he said. “But it is now very clear that we should have never been sent home that night.”
Podemski was rushed to the hospital early the following morning after experiencing prolonged contractions and underwent an emergency C-section procedure. Upon being born, Benjamin was transferred to a specialist unit at St. Michael’s Hospital in Bristol. He died on May 10.
Six months later, in November 2016, coroner Maria Voisin suddenly halted an inquest into Benjamin’s death.
“It was a high-risk pregnancy,” said Voisin. “[Podemski] was 14 days overdue and there had been an antenatal trace which was abnormal. Benjamin’s birth was appropriately planned as a category three C-section for that day. A decision was made to delay that delivery to the following day. This decision, together with the decision to send his mum home, resulted in Benjamin being born in a poor condition and his subsequent death.”
Voisin also addressed allegations that witness statements had been tampered with by the hospital’s National Health Service foundation trust: According to multiple reports, during the inquest, labour ward coordinator Eileen Dack had questioned why the Caesarean was delayed and recalled a conversation with the on-duty registrar who felt it should have gone ahead as planned.
When asked why there was no documentation of the conversation, Dack reportedly told Voisin it was “removed from my statement” by the trust’s legal team. Voisin then contacted police to investigate the matter.
In a statement at the time, King, who has starred in Mad Men and The Tudors, opened up about the tragic experience.
“Due to a poorly judged decision to postpone his C-section, Benjamin was delivered in an emergency procedure, and suffered severe brain damage as a result,” he said. “He tragically died at 5 days old.”
“Unfortunately, through the process of this inquest, we have also learned about the darker, behind-the-scenes decisions that have been made. Decisions that threaten the good work of honest healthcare professionals, as well as the safety of their patients,” he added. “We were horrified to hear evidence that a statement had been altered by the legal team representing the RUH.”
“As a result of this, the coroner, who stated that she considers this is a very serious matter, has been forced to adjourn the inquest to allow for an investigation to take place,” he continued. “At a time when the U.K. has one of the highest stillbirth rates in Europe, we must create an environment where all medical practitioners feel safe to be honest about their mistakes so we can all hear from them.”
“The inquest and the internal investigations that will be taking place are a tremendous opportunity for growth and change,” he went on. “And we cannot waste them.”
“In his short life our son Benjamin has had a profound effect on our family,” continued the actor. “He’s taught us the true meaning of love, he asked us to be the most courageous, resilient and forgiving versions of ourselves.”
The inquest reconvened in January, and following its conclusion, police continued to probe the allegations. Their investigation was officially closed this week.
In a statement obtained by The Bath Chronicle, RUH’s director of nursing and midwifery Helen Blanchard said: “We would once again like to reiterate that the trust has taken this matter very seriously and has cooperated fully with the coroner’s directions and with Avon and Somerset police.”
“We would like to provide an assurance that there was never any intention to mislead the inquest process, as demonstrated by the police findings,” she continued.
King and Podemski, however, feel differently.
“We are deeply shocked to learn from the press that the police investigation has now been closed, especially since the RUH had promised to keep us informed of all developments regarding this very serious matter,” the couple told The Daily Mail on Friday.
“Our solicitor has petitioned for them to provide us with the results of their internal investigation, as well as the findings of the police report,” they continued. “Until we can review that material, we are unable to comment further, except to say that we continue to be very hurt and disappointed by the RUH’s profound lack of respect and consideration for our needs as grieving parents.”