Pattern of preventable birth injuries placing mothers and babies at continued risk in 2021

Significant maternity failings are being exposed in different parts of the country including East Kent, Shrewsbury and Telford and parts of South Wales.

As the NHS enters 2021 still managing overwhelming numbers of Covid-19 patients, historic, and ongoing, maternity failings are being investigated.

It was recently reported that dozens of babies had died unnecessarily at the maternity units run by the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust. In addition, 130 babies had suffered oxygen deprivation at birth leading to brain damage over a four-year period.

The Trust’s maternity services, delivered at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford and the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, are currently subject to an investigation being led by Dr Bill Kirkup who was appointed chairman of the enquiry into the Morecambe Bay maternity scandal in 2013.

Maternity failings in East Kent had first been raised by the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) in 2018. It found multiple issues with the care being delivered including:

– Lack of staff who were trained to correctly monitor babies’ heart rates

– Failure to recognise a deterioration in the condition of mother and baby

– Failure in delivering effective and timely resuscitation for newborns

– Poor communication between midwifery staff and obstetric and neonatal colleagues, particularly raising concerns around how complicated births were escalated

As birth injury lawyers with in excess of 25 years’ experience, sadly we have seen the same pattern of repeated failings in maternity units across the country.

Pregnancy and childbirth is a precious but critical time and both mother and baby should be monitored carefully throughout.

Avoidable errors, which may also include delays in appropriate medical intervention, failing to listen to the mother and care delivered by medical staff of inadequate seniority, can lead to catastrophic and irreversible consequences.

The maternity services at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) are also currently being reviewed by a team led by midwifery expert Donna Ockenden with more than 1,800 cases of preventable birth injuries being investigated dating back decades.

In 2019, the maternity services delivered by the Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board in Merthyr Tydfil, Bridgend and Rhondda Cynon Taf in South Wales, were placed under special measures with more families whose baby suffered a preventable death or an avoidable catastrophic birth injury still coming forward.

The families at the heart of these scandals continue to suffer long after the incident. Many do not get the answers that they need from those responsible.

While the global health pandemic means that everyone will be struggling in different ways, the families caring for children with complex needs as a result of a preventable birth injury, are amongst the hardest hit.

For the families whose baby suffered a significant birth injury, the psychological, practical and financial toll will be devastating.

Lessons must be learned.

If you believe that your family has suffered a preventable birth injury, our friendly team of medical and legal experts are here to listen and help.

Our team cannot change what happened, but we can help to secure the compensation needed to cover the extensive care costs, home adaptations, therapies and specialist equipment to make life a little easier.

We have a strong track record of securing £multi-million settlements and support our clients every step of the way of what will be a challenging journey to justice.

We are on your side and continue to work hard for clients throughout the pandemic.

To see a recent example of a £multi-million birth injury settlement secured by our team, please click here.

To contact us for a free confidential chat click here.

Contact Diane Rostron

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Patient safety in crisis

Maternity issues are now one of the biggest challenges facing hospitals in England and Wales. Failings in medical care in maternity units across the country

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If you suspect that your child suffered a preventable brain injury at birth, we can help. You can contact our team of medical and legal brain injury experts for a free initial consultation by calling 01253 766 559 or completing the form below.