Should Birthing Injuries Be More Transparent to Parents?

Birth Injury

We saw recently in the press that Nottingham City Hospital had taken five years to apologise to the parents of a young boy who suffered an injury as a result of their negligence.

The reported case suggests that doctors performing an Emergency Caesarean Section accidentally made a two-inch cut into the new-born’s head causing a fatal brain haemorrhage in 2013.  The mother has spoken out after finally getting closure in knowing her baby’s death was not her fault, but why did it take the Hospital so long to admit their liability?

Unfortunately this is not the first time that parents have had to fight to uncover the truth. Between April 2015 and March 2017, 276,767 mistakes have been reported by maternity care in which one quarter have led to the baby or mother being harmed, 288 have resulted in fatalities with only 132 trusts having reported their mistakes.

One recent article concerning Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust reported that two new born children died within six months of each other and despite both families complaining to the trust, their concerns were dismissed, the families are certain that the deaths were avoidable!   Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust claimed it investigates all deaths and takes appropriate action where necessary; however it was reported that a third family was told by the Trust, that their daughter’s death had been unavoidable.  An inquest followed and found that this was not correct and in fact the death could have been avoided.

The statistics are shocking however what is more worrying is the fact that Trusts appear to be covering up the truth and not addressing complaints or questions raised correctly and honestly!

The Health Secretary has urged the NHS to take major steps to improve its safety record and introduced reforms such as “the duty of candour” which invokes responsibilities on trusts to be open and honest when things go wrong.  Further, The Healthcare Safety Investigations Branch set up earlier in 2017 who will have the role of independently reviewing cases of unexplained cases of serious harm or death of baby’s during or shortly after birth. The Department of Health states the investigation would examine numbers of tragic cases where standards of care fell far below those that parents would expect, the outcome of such investigations is expected to reveal that there are a significant number of deaths during or shortly after child birth that were avoidable.

Often parents feel that there’s nothing that they can do, however there are ways in which you can make a difference. The hope is that in the light of this new investigation into the deaths of new-borns, the NHS will become a learning organisation and the same devastating mistakes will not be repeated in future. In pursuing a claim, no amount of compensation can remedy the loss. But there is a chance that procedures within the Trusts responsible might change to prevent the same thing from happening to other expectant parents.

If you, or a loved one, have been affected by the medical profession and suffered the loss of a child as a result of birthing injuries, please do not hesitate to contact Michael Lewin Solicitors for some free, confidential advice to see if you can make a claim.

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Carol Cook Medical Negligence Solicitor

Carol Cook

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