Families who have suffered as a result of medical negligence need an apology from the professionals involved to help with their healing as they cope with the devastating aftermath.
All NHS patients are entitled to openness and transparency following a preventable incident as medical staff have a statutory Duty of Candour to those whose care they are responsible for.
In circumstances where a serious injury has occurred, particularly when it involves a baby, it is so important for the hospital involved to show that they care by acknowledging what happened and offering the family a heartfelt apology.
This really does help in showing affected families that the NHS cares about what happened to them and acknowledges that it failed in its duty of care. When a mother goes into hospital to have her baby, she has a right to trust that the level of care provided to her and her baby will keep them both safe.
The physical and psychological damage felt by an entire family following an avoidable birth injury cannot be imagined. The effects last a lifetime. A simple sorry will not change these tragic circumstances but by reaching out to patients with honesty and kindness, medical staff can help with their healing.
NHS Resolution, which manages compensation claims brought against the NHS, published its Saying Sorry leaflet in June 2017 to improve patient care and highlights that the Compensation Act 2006 states that an apology does not in itself equate to an admission of liability.
It is sadly rare that our clients receive an apology soon after a serious birth injury when they need it most. At this time particularly, they are experiencing mixed emotions as they learn to cope with their family’s altered future. Their feelings range from deep hurt and confusion to anger, frustration and pain.
We represent clients across England and Wales and a common trend I’m sad to say, is that apologies are often what they want the most however, there are very few cases where the hospital involved provides this.
The lack of evident empathy only serves to deepen the pain and distrust in the NHS leading to further anxiety as they are then put in a position where they have to fight simply to gain an acknowledgement and redress.
Medical negligence compensation is far from a lottery win. The families who must take the legal route following a birth injury when medical care has fallen well below an acceptable standard, need the compensation in order to manage the injuries caused.
Birth injuries can lead to serious lifelong disabilities. Some of these children will require care for their entire lives. Some may never be able to work due to the severity of their injuries. Parents, and other family members, may have to give up work in order to care for their child as a result.
This really is just the tip of the iceberg as whole families suffer the consequences with PTSD not uncommon as they cope in the knowledge that it should have been very different.
If your family has suffered following a birth injury, contact our friendly team for a free confidential consultation on 01253 766 559.