Comment

New hospital fines not enough to reduce sepsis deaths says leading lawyer

News of new sepsis guidance, which will see NHS Trusts fined if they fail to meet sepsis targets, has been met with caution by a leading medical negligence lawyer.

The guidance, part of the NHS Long Term Plan, has been drawn up by The Royal College of Physicians, The Royal College of GPs, NICE and the UK Sepsis Trust in a bid to reduce the 37,000 annual deaths from the condition which has been dubbed “the silent killer”.

“Imposing financial penalties on an already cash strapped NHS may not be the right solution.’ said medical negligence solicitor Diane Rostron.

“It concerns me that fining hospitals will only ultimately further reduce the quality of patient care and patient safety. Fining an NHS Trust for failing to follow the guidance means that a patient has already been left significantly injured or has suffered an avoidable death. Prevention must be a priority.

“We have represented several families recently whose loved ones suffered premature deaths as a result of medical staff failing to diagnose sepsis, in some cases failing to listen to the family who recognised the symptoms of this dangerous condition and failed to provide critical antibiotics in a timely fashion.

“This is a nationwide problem and is not isolated to one region of the country or specific hospitals. This indicates that there is a real need for sepsis education amongst healthcare professionals across England and Wales.

“Sepsis may be difficult to spot however, NICE guidelines provide a sepsis checklist and state that antibiotics should be given even if sepsis is suspected and is yet to be confirmed. The new guidance will mean that NHS Trusts will be contractually obliged to follow the guidance from April 2019.

“Health professional should already be compelled to follow the sepsis guidelines because of their duty to deliver safe patient care and not because of a fear of a financial penalty. Repeated training at all levels is desperately needed to tackle this endemic to reduce the number of avoidable sepsis deaths.”

Diane Rostron and her team represented 45-year-old Paul Wilkinson who died in May 2017 from multiple organ failure after medical staff at Blackpool Victoria Hospital failed to recognise and treat his sepsis symptoms on his admission to A&E as a priority patient. The coroner at his inquest delivered a finding of neglect.

 The team also recently represented the parents of 15-month-old Evie Candle who died in April 2018 after health professionals at Whiston Hospital in Merseyside failed to listen to their repeated suggestions that her symptoms could be sepsis and repeated requests for antibiotics. The coroner at her inquest also delivered a finding of neglect.

Ends

Comment

Comment

News of new sepsis test is good news but increased awareness is still essential

It was announced in February that a new sepsis test, which promises to diagnose the potentially life-threatening condition within three minutes, would be available on the NHS within the next three to five years.

The new test has been developed by scientists at Strathclyde University in Glasgow who are confident that it “could save thousands of lives”.

According to The UK Sepsis Trust, sepsis kills 52,000 people per year. National guidelines set out by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) advise that medical professionals should provide antibiotics to patients even before a sepsis diagnosis is confirmed.

It currently takes up to 72 hours to diagnose sepsis however, timely treatment can prevent this serious condition from developing into further complications such as multiple organ failure.

The symptoms to be aware of in adults include:

·         A high temperature

·         Chills and shivers

·         A fast heartbeat

·         Fast breathing

More severe symptoms can also include the following:

·         Dizziness or feeling faint

·         Confusion or disorientation

·         Nausea or vomiting

·         Diarrhea

·         Not passing water over a prolonged period

·         Cold, clammy, pale or mottled skin

We are sadly seeing too many cases where sepsis treatment has been delayed due to medical professionals failing to follow the national guidelines leading to avoidable patient deaths.

While some of the symptoms of sepsis are very similar to other conditions, the NICE guidelines clearly state that antibiotics should be provide in a timely fashion - even if sepsis is suspected but is yet to be formally diagnosed.

Our specialist team of leading medical and legal specialists have represented families for more than 20 years, including several recent sepsis cases.

If you believe that your family has suffered significant harm or an avoidable death as a result of medical negligence, our friendly team of specialists are here to help on 01253 766 559.

Read more about the sepsis cases we have acted on below.

Comment

Comment

Sepsis - knowing the symptoms of this potentially life-threatening condition

February was sepsis awareness month in parts of Cumbria. A potentially life-threatening condition, sepsis is the body’s strong reaction to an infection and if not treated quickly, can lead to organ failure and death.

According to the NHS, there are more deaths as a result of sepsis than breast, bowel and prostate cancer combined. Recognising the symptoms early is vital, as is administering timely antibiotics within one hour of sepsis being suspected.

National guidelines set out by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) advise that antibiotics should be provided even before a sepsis diagnosis is confirmed.

We recently representing the parents of a 15-month-old girl who died from sepsis as a result of medical negligence. Her well informed parents suspected that she was suffering from the condition as soon as they took her into hospital and they repeatedly asked medical staff when she would be given antibiotics over a 16-hour period.

Sadly, the hospital involved failed to listen and failed to act leading to her entirely preventable death just two days later.

According to the UK Sepsis Trust, 25,000 children are affected by sepsis every year and five people die as a result of the condition every hour in the UK.

Sepsis is entirely treatable if caught early and antibiotics are provided quickly in line with the national NICE guidelines.

Symptoms include:

·         High fever

·         Skin looks mottled, bluish or pale

·         Body is abnormally cold to the touch

·         Fast breathing

·         A rash that doesn’t fade when pressed

·         Fits or convulsions

·         Repeated vomiting

·         Not passing urine for 12 hours

·         Not feeding

Our specialist team of leading medical and legal specialists have represented families for more than 20 years. We have recently acted for several families when medical professionals failed to recognise and failed to respond to sepsis symptoms in line with national guidelines - with devastating consequences.

If you believe that your family has suffered significant harm or death as a result of medical negligence our friendly team of specialists offer free initial advice on 01253 766 559.

Comment

Comment

Improvements urgently needed in some Shropshire maternity services

Inadequate maternity care at two hospitals in the region have been highlighted in a recent report by the independent regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Published at the end of November 2018, the CQC report highlighted several concerns about current practices at the maternity services at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.

Failings at the service in Telford included high risk women in labour not always being reviewed on a regular basis and not always reviewed by an appropriate member of medical staff; midwives being unaware of current maternity service plans and inadequate levels of recording early warning signs during pregnancy.

Maternity services at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital were found to have no defined pathway for supporting women with reduced fetal movements; a shortage of midwives and women with high risk pregnancies not being assessed, monitored or managed in the correct environment resulting in potentially risky delays.

Birth injuries specialist solicitor Diane Rostron commented: “The findings highlight too many areas of serious concern. The NHS Trust needs to address these immediately in order to avert the risk of further preventable birth injuries and baby deaths in its hospitals.

“Maternity care is rightly under the spotlight in several areas of the country and the government has promised a new package of measures ‘to make the NHS the best place in the world to give birth’. There is some way to go before this ambition is realised. Mums-to-be have a right to trust that both they, and their babies, are in safe hands before, during and after pregnancy.”

At least 100 families are involved in an independent enquiry into potentially avoidable birth injuries and baby deaths at hospitals run by the Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust (SaTH). The review covers incidents between 2000 – 2017.

Families who believe that they may have suffered an avoidable death or significant birth injury due to medical negligence can contact our friendly team for a confidential chat on 01253 766 559.

Comment

Comment

Liverpool inquest starts following the alleged preventable death of 15-month-old girl

An inquest into the alleged avoidable death of 15-month-old Evie Crandle has started in Liverpool.

Evie had been taken to Whiston Hospital, in Merseyside, at 11.40am on 14th April 2018 with a high fever of 39.8C. She was refusing her breakfast and was vomiting. Her lips were alternating in colour between pink and blue and she was lethargic.

Medical staff dismissed her parents repeated queries, both on arrival and throughout that day, regarding a sepsis diagnosis and repeated requests for Evie to be given antibiotics.

Medical staff discharged the family at 4.30pm with Evie only provided with ibuprofen and calpol up to this point despite several tests and symptoms indicating sepsis. Evie’s parents brought her back to hospital within two hours because they were so concerned.

Evie was only given IV fluids more than 15 hours following her first admission when her condition had significantly deteriorated and she died two days later at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital where she had been transferred following an admission into critical care.

Evie’s parents, 31-year-old Sam McNeice and her partner 35-year-old Phil Crandle, said: “Evie was our beautiful little girl and she made our lives perfect. We celebrated what would have been her 2nd birthday less than three weeks ago with family and friends enjoying her favourites of pizza and ice cream.

“We still can’t believe that she has gone and we cry every single day. We were very aware of the symptoms of sepsis when Evie suddenly became ill. We asked the nurse immediately on arrival at Whiston Hospital whether Evie had sepsis but she reassured us that she was not concerned about Evie and that she probably had a urine infection.

“Evie met the criteria to start the sepsis pathway at triage but this didn’t happen. Evie’s condition continued to get worse throughout the day and we repeatedly asked medical staff if she had sepsis and when she would be given antibiotics but this was ignored. Several tests were carried out verifying the presence of an infection and her body temperature was so hot that we had her stripped and in front of a fan at one point. Her hands and feet were very cold and we were very clear in our minds that she had sepsis but no one acted on this until it was too late.”

Representing the family at the inquest medical negligence lawyer Diane Rostron commented: “This is a truly tragic case. Evie’s parents were very well informed about the symptoms of sepsis and had persistently tried to alert staff. Despite Evie’s health clearly deteriorating and various tests showing that she was suffering from an infection, the family were sent home only to return a little over two hours later as further signs of sepsis became present.

“It is incredible that by 8.30pm that evening that Evie had still not been given the urgent treatment that she required. Her parents were instead advised that medical staff planned to give her intravenous fluids but that no one was available to administer the treatment.

“Phil and Sam were so desperate that Phil even offered to help with the procedure himself. The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) has very clear sepsis guidelines in place. The NICE guidelines clearly recommend that within one hour of sepsis being suspected, and even before a definite diagnosis, antibiotics must be given.

“Several medical staff at Whiston Hospital were involved in the care of Evie that day and all failed to follow the national guidelines resulting in what we believe was Evie’s entirely avoidable death.

“We look forward to the Coroner’s findings and sincerely hope that the NHS Trust now puts urgent measures in place to ensure not only that all its staff are adequately trained in recognising sepsis symptoms, but also that the Trust ensures that all staff adhere to the NICE guidelines. The staff not only failed to follow the national guidelines, but also failed to follow the Trust’s own guidelines.”

Sam and Phil continued: “We are now expecting our second daughter and feel absolutely terrified. Evie was born at Whiston Hospital but we will be having our second child elsewhere as we can’t face being anywhere near there and have serious concerns about the staff. We need to know why the hospital ignored the national sepsis guidelines and its own protocols and why our daughter is no longer with us.”

Evie’s parents are being supported by child bereavement charity Love Jasmine and the bereavement team at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

 Ends

 For media enquiries please contact Rana Audah on 07793 356 439 or at rana.audah@gmail.com

Comment

Comment

Improvements still needed to avoid birth injuries in Cumbria

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has recently inspected the hospitals run by The North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust revealing that essential changes are still required in its maternity services.

The Trust, which runs the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven and a birthing centre at the Penrith Community Hospital, received an overall ‘requires improvement’ rating.

Placed under special measures in July 2013 following the Keogh review, the Trust came out of special measures in March 2017 however, the latest Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection has revealed further improvements are required in its maternity services.

Published in November 2018, its report identified that 10% of women did not receive one to one care during labour, several of the guidelines and procedures in the Trust’s maternity services were out of date and a review of its drugs management was needed.

The latest findings raise concerns, particularly regarding the continued use of outdated guidelines and procedures in its maternity departments.

Pregnancy and childbirth is a natural and joyous time however, both mother and baby are at their most vulnerable during this period. It is crucial for both to be monitored carefully throughout and for current guidelines and processes to be followed to avoid any risks.

Every woman entering a maternity unit should also be provided with one to one care to eliminate any opportunities for devastating mistakes to take place.

Bringing claims against hospitals across England and Wales, we see the same recurring errors: failings to follow current guidelines; failings to adequately monitor mother and baby and failures to act appropriately and timeously.

As the Trust continues to make improvements, it is essential that the issues highlighted in its maternity services are addressed as a priority.

All too often we talk to families whose lives have been devastated due to medical negligence occurring before, during or just after birth.

A critical time for both mother and baby, small mistakes can lead to significant, and irreversible injuries being sustained.

Our specialist team of leading medical and legal specialists have represented families for more than 20 years following incidents of avoidable catastrophic birth injuries and preventable baby deaths.

We understand that when medical negligence occurs during this vulnerable time, whole families continue to suffer for a lifetime.

Our team has a strong track record of securing £multi-million settlements for families who have been inflicted with both physical and psychological injuries following avoidable mistakes made in maternity units.

Our unique combination of both medical and legal experts means that clients benefit from our extensive specialist expertise under one roof.

Our friendly team offers free confidential advice. If you believe that your family has suffered a birth injury due to avoidable medical errors you can contact us on 01253 766 559.

To read more about the families that we have helped, click here.

Comment

Comment

Catalogue of errors at the Royal Cornwall Hospital leads to the avoidable death of a six-year-old girl

Recent news of the preventable death of an autistic six-year-old girl following multiple missed opportunities to properly diagnose and treat her, is sadly an incident that is becoming all too common.

The girl’s parents reported that medical staff had treated them with ‘arrogance’. The parents also stated that the medical professionals involved had blamed their failings on the little girl being ‘uncooperative and non-compliant’.

Suffering with diarrhoea and other symptoms which should have prompted a simple course of rehydration treatment with intravenous fluids being administered, instead, hospital staff failed to follow guidelines and her condition developed into sepsis.

This tragic story is not an isolated incident. All too often we hear clients who have suffered following medical negligence at different hospitals across the country tell us that medical staff simply did not listen, they did not follow the guidelines in place to prevent these incidents, they did not provide proper care.

For this family, and all those who have suffered with significant injuries or who have lost a member of their family due to medical errors, recognition of the mistakes made and regret over the loss suffered goes some way to easing the pain.

To suffer the loss of a child is every parents’ worst nightmare. To have those whose care a child’s health was entrusted not only fail in their medical duty to deliver safe patient care, but to subsequently also fail to show accountability for their devastating mistakes and go as far as blaming the child, is incomprehensible.

It has been reported that staff were responsible for no less than 13 separate failings, including a delay in providing antibiotics when the presenting symptoms suggested that she had developed sepsis.

A life-threatening condition, the administration of antibiotics in a timely fashion as soon as sepsis is diagnosed is vital. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines state that antibiotics must be given within an hour of sepsis being suspected and diagnosed. The symptoms of sepsis can be found here.

Our team of medical and legal specialists offer more than 20 years’ experience in dealing with medical negligence incidents. We listen when other professionals have failed to do so. If you, or your family, have been significantly injured as a result of medical errors, contact a member of our friendly team on 01253 766 599 or email a summary of the circumstances to dr@addies.co.uk

For more information on the families we have already helped, click here.

Comment

1 Comment

Birth injuries lawyer calls for Cwm Taf maternity services investigations to be widened

Leading birth injuries solicitor Diane Rostron is calling for the Welsh Government and the Cwm Taf University Health Board’s investigations into maternity services delivered at hospitals in Merthyr Tydfil and Llantrisant to be widened.

The recently announced reviews currently only cover baby deaths at the Prince Charles and Royal Glamorgan hospitals during the period 2016 to 2018 and come amidst a major overhaul of the Health Boards’ maternity services.

Commenting on the investigations, birth injuries specialist Diane Rostron said: “It is vitally important that these investigations are carried out properly and thoroughly and review not only the potentially avoidable baby deaths at these hospitals, but also reviews the incidents where babies have suffered significant life changing injuries as a result of negligence.

“My team is currently representing a number of families whose babies have been left with major lifelong disabilities due to medical negligence at these hospitals and more South Wales families have been in touch with us since news of the inquiry was announced.

“We will be writing to both the Welsh Government and the chief executive at the Cwm Taf University Health Board to ask that their investigations are widened to a longer period and also include significant birth injuries which could have been avoided.

“We are speaking to at least six families whose children suffered significant birth injuries which took place between 2011 and 2013. We are also aware of another case where a mother lost twins after her ruptured uterus went undiagnosed back in 2009 at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital.

“We are urging other families in the area to come forward if they have any doubts about how their baby may have been injured or died at these hospitals.

“We have come across a number of discrepancies in the information provided to us when pursuing medical negligence claims against the Cwm Taf University Health Board. I would urge all families who may have been affected but simply told that their baby’s injury or death was a natural occurrence to speak to us.”

Ends

1 Comment

£27m settlement for boy left brain damaged due to negligence at Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Comment

£27m settlement for boy left brain damaged due to negligence at Blackpool Victoria Hospital

A substantial medical negligence sum has been secured this week by Blackpool solicitor Diane Rostron to cover the lifetime care needs of a client left brain damaged following his delayed birth at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

The figure, which includes a £5.7 million lump sum and significant annual payments for the rest of his life, will cover the cost of his care and other needs and was approved at the High Court in London on 9th October 2018.

Commenting on the claim, Blackpool based birth injuries specialist Diane Rostron at Addies Solicitors said: “Our client, and his family, have struggled for many years to cope with his significant care needs following entirely preventable delays during his birth. 

“The hospital failed on multiple counts to provide adequate care. Had the maternity staff involved at the time carried out their duties in a timely, and appropriate manner, our client would have been born perfectly healthy avoiding all injuries.

“The settlement will cover the cost of his significant needs for the rest of his life. Lessons must be learned at the Trust to prevent this from happening to other families who rely on their local hospital to provide a safe level of patient care. We are currently acting for a number of clients significantly injured while in the care of the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.”

Diane Rostron, and her team of medical and legal specialists, represented the family of Paul Wilkinson at his inquest in May 2018. The Blackpool Coroner found that the death of the 45-year-old at Blackpool Victoria Hospital in 2017 was due to the Trust’s neglect.

A medical negligence claim against Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is currently being pursued on behalf of his family.

The hospital was last inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in December 2017 and is currently rated as ‘requires improvement’ for safety and responsiveness.

In the last 12 months, Diane Rostron and her team have secured settlements for six severely injured children with an estimated value of £100 million.

If your family has been significantly injured due to medical negligence, contact our friendly team for a confidential chat on 01253 766 559.

Comment

Investigation into maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust spans a 19-year period

Comment

Investigation into maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust spans a 19-year period

The Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust, responsible for running a number of hospitals and medical services including maternity units at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, is currently under investigation for alleged poor maternity care involving patients dating back nearly two decades.

The denied claims follow an investigation launched in 2017 on the request of Jeremy Hunt involving 23 cases of the deaths of both mothers and babies and included incidents of potentially avoidable brain injuries.

One local mother recalled that, during her 36-hour labour, she had been repeatedly refused a caesarean section however, during the natural birth of her son, his shoulder was trapped and he died just a few hours later due to a lack of oxygen and a Group B Strep infection.

Another of the Trust’s patients has told the media that she had repeatedly told medical staff that her baby’s movements had slowed but she had been reassured that everything was fine. Following a three day stay at the Princess Royal Hospital, she was advised that her daughter’s heartbeat had stopped.

The scale of the issue has been compared to the 2015 independent inquiry into the University Hospital Morecambe Bay Foundation which identified that there had been 11 avoidable baby deaths and also one mother whose death was preventable.

The distressing news will be met with mixed emotions for the families involved and for those who will be due to have their babies at the hospitals until full details are uncovered. It has been reported that two babies and a mother died while under the Trust’s care as recently as December 2017 in two separate incidents.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is carrying out checks at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospitals with the findings yet to be published. The independent regulator currently rates both as ‘requires improvements’ following inspections carried out in 2016.

Our specialist birth injuries team of medical and legal specialists offer more than 20 years’ experience of dealing with incidents of medical negligence resulting in significant avoidable injuries or preventable deaths.

If you believe that your family has been affected by medical negligence at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital or the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, contact a member of our friendly team for a confidential chat on 01253 766 559.

Comment

 Errors made during maternity and neonatal care continue to take lion’s share of medical negligence payouts

Comment

Errors made during maternity and neonatal care continue to take lion’s share of medical negligence payouts

Medical negligence compensation has risen four-fold across the country to £1.6 billion during the 10 years up to 2016/17 according to figures from the National Audit Office.

Maternity and neonatal care represented 10% of all claims in 2016/17 but accounted for half of the total compensation awarded.

While the Department of Health pledges to “…halve the rates of neonatal deaths, stillbirths, maternal deaths and brain injuries caused during or shortly after labour by 2025”, medical errors continue to devastate lives.

Small delays in taking appropriate action during the critical period before, during and shortly after childbirth, can lead to lifelong disabilities.

These cases are thankfully rare however, when mistakes are made during the period when mother and baby are at their most vulnerable, the effects last a lifetime - changing the lives of entire families.

Compensation for birth related injuries are extensive. Delays of just minutes or the failure of medical professionals to properly monitor a baby’s health during childbirth can result in injuries that affect every aspect of their development from that point onwards.

These avoidable failings in medical care can mean the difference between a perfectly healthy baby being delivered to a baby facing lifelong care needs, the inability to ever work and sometimes even the inability to form relationships.

The practicalities of the disabilities caused are just part of the heartache suffered by the families involved. The joy of the birth of a new member of the family is replaced by worry and trauma.

Birth injuries can include: birth asphyxia; birth trauma (skull fractures and brain haemorrhages); cephalohematoma; cerebral palsy; epilepsy; hydrocephalus; hypoxia; ischaemic brain damage; jaundice and meningitis.

The resulting day-to-day complications can make daily activities extremely difficult. The compensation sought in these circumstances aims to cover the cost of essential items, care, adaptations and transport to ease some of these difficulties.

Equipment such as wheelchairs may be required. Adapting the family’s living space or building a new home to fit their needs, therapies and the cost of lifelong care is accounted for.

Loss of earnings, where appropriate, and other costs such as transport to medical appointments or school are all considered when we calculate how much our clients are entitled to following medical negligence.

Our team uniquely comprises leading medical and legal specialists with more than 20 years’ experience. Our relentless pursuit of the truth has led to millions of pounds of compensation for clients significantly injured when medical care has fallen below adequate levels.

Specialising in childbirth injuries, we are experts in unravelling the fine details to prove when and how errors have been made. We work with several experts to accurately calculate how much is required by our families to support past, current and future needs.

For a confidential chat with our friendly team call 01253 766 559 or email dr@addies.co.uk 

 

Comment

Maternity failings at Furness General Hospital a sore reminder

Comment

Maternity failings at Furness General Hospital a sore reminder

Our team has represented families who have suffered due to medical negligence for more than 20 years.

Supporting injured patients across England and Wales, and fighting for justice following significant errors in maternity units across the country, our clients repeatedly tell us the same thing – they just want those responsible to say ‘sorry’.

An apology can never take away the serious injuries inflicted, nor can showing remorse turn back the clock. Our families want to see accountability and for the medical professionals involved to recognise that their mistakes have caused irreversible damage that will last a lifetime.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) issued an apology in June 2018 following the avoidable deaths of 11 babies and one mother at Furness General Hospital spanning several years.

This was a sore reminder that families continue to suffer and are still to be afforded the basic right of receiving a simple apology demonstrating that the NHS cares.

In the case involving Furness General Hospital, the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) found that the NMC had failed to react quickly to the situation with reports from local families and even the Cumbria police allegedly ignored.

The midwives involved in the preventable deaths continued to practice long after concerns were first raised in 2008 following the death of a nine-day-old boy from sepsis.

Only recently was action taken seeing three midwives struck off and another suspended. The hurt and loss suffered for the families involved however, will go on long after justice has been served.

While these practitioners continued to deliver babies, several families were left to come to terms with the fact that the loss of their baby was entirely avoidable – and that no one cared.

Having their serious concerns ignored for several years sent a damaging message that those whose medical expertise they trusted, simply did not acknowledge their failings.

This recent case has been a shocking reminder that maternity care is still significantly falling behind adequate levels in many hospitals across England and Wales.

The pain and hurt caused will never go away for those involved. The lack of empathy that we sadly continue to see following incidents of medical negligence only compounds the injuries already inflicted.

Fighting for compensation for families for more than 20 years, we have sadly become accustomed to hearing that our clients’ concerns were simply ignored by professionals.

Our team of medical and legal specialists are not only committed to securing the maximum compensation needed by injured patients but, more importantly, we really listen when other professionals have failed to do so.

We continue to support our clients long after we have proved that their injuries were preventable. We carry on helping our families long after we have won the compensation that they deserve and need.

We recognise that the significant physical and psychological injuries suffered in our hospitals last a lifetime. We understand that the support needed by victims of medical negligence doesn’t end when the legal case concludes.

We have good relationships with a network of experts from therapists to home adaptation specialists. Our team is committed to giving the families we represent the care package that they need to make life as normal as possible, for as long as is required.

If you, or your family, have been injured before, during, or after childbirth, contact our empathetic team for a free initial consultation on 01253 766 559 or dr@addies.co.uk.

Comment

Birth trauma can affect more than just mother and baby

Comment

Birth trauma can affect more than just mother and baby

It’s Birth Trauma Awareness Week between 1 – 8 July 2018 and it’s a topic that needs more attention, more conversations, and more understanding and support for those affected.

According to the Birth Trauma Association, around 20,000 women a year are affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) because of the trauma experienced during childbirth and a further 200,000 women may have some of the associated symptoms.

The devastating effects of birth trauma are not limited to mother and baby however. Our specialist team recently successfully won a damages claim for a grandmother who suffered with PTSD following the birth of her granddaughter.

As medical and legal experts in birth injuries and trauma, we understand that medical negligence has far reaching implications and that incidents of PTSD are common.

Awareness campaigns can help women feel less isolated and encourages support networks to be built. When medical negligence occurs in maternity units, and babies suffer avoidable injuries, the psychological effects on mums – and wider family members - can be extremely damaging.

Birth trauma can result following a long or difficult labour or if medical intervention occurs leaving mother and baby significantly physically injured. The mental scars can be as devastating as the physical injuries caused but can often go untreated or are sometimes misdiagnosed as post-natal depression.

Wider family members who are present at a traumatic birth can also be impacted emotionally as they witness the difficult events leaving long-lasting symptoms including anxiety and depression. 

We have heard from many women who shared their birth trauma stories with us on our  page and also from clients and it’s a sad fact that for many, the experience of birth trauma has resulted in life changing decisions as many choose not to have more children for fear of having a repeated experience.

As maternity services continue to struggle in some parts of the country, these incidents are likely to continue happening in our hospitals. The Government has pledged an increase in midwives while the quality of maternity services is in focus following the recognition from the health secretary earlier this year that more than half of the NHS compensation fund is spent on maternity cases.

Childbirth is a critical and vulnerable time. We are often told by clients who have suffered injuries due to medical negligence that their concerns were simply not heard. It is time for these issues to continue being under the spotlight to prevent further incidents of birth injuries and trauma and to allow for greater support.

Representing families for more than 20 years, we understand the impact of psychological injuries on the lives of those affected. This can range from difficulties in returning to work or reduced work-related responsibilities, to the inability to continue living life as before due to anxiety and other associated issues.

We factor this in when we fight for compensation taking a holistic view of the injuries caused.

If you and your family have suffered significant injuries before, during or after childbirth, we can help. Contact a member of our friendly team for a free initial consultation on 01253 766 559.

 

Comment

Jeremy Hunt reveals an increase in NHS payouts for birth injury cases

Comment

Jeremy Hunt reveals an increase in NHS payouts for birth injury cases

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt revealed at a recent medical conference that the NHS spends around £1,000 in insurance for every baby it delivers.

Hunt admitted that at least half of the NHS pot of £65 billion set aside for compensation claims was being spent on maternity cases with 25 babies suffering a birth injury every week and four or five of these having lifelong brain damage as a result.

Labour’s health spokesman Jonathan Ashworth admitted that mistakes are likely to continue happening within our hospitals as NHS staff continue to be overstretched and overworked while the 70-year-old NHS suffers underfunding.

The figures are shocking and highlight that maternity services need a greater focus to reduce birth injury incidents.  The Government announced a commitment to increasing the number of midwives earlier this year but more needs to be done to provide safe maternity services for every mother and baby.

Childbirth is a critical time. While giving birth is the most natural thing in the world, medical errors such as delayed action or not carefully monitoring the baby can lead to lifetime care needs and changed lives for whole families.

Recent reports have stated that the NHS medical negligence bill has increased by 150% compared to 2014 figures. This is a staggering figure and reveals how many families are suffering following avoidable medical errors.

Birth injury cases take the lion’s share of NHS payouts because for those who have suffered the most serious birth injuries including birth asphyxia, birth trauma, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and meningitis, the effects will last a lifetime.

These children, and their families, must learn to live with significant disabilities. For some, simple day-to-day living becomes a challenge. The compensation sought for avoidable birth injuries considers lifetime needs and loss of future earnings for those who are unlikely to be able to ever work due to the injuries suffered.

Essential equipment, therapies and care costs to last a lifetime, cannot be afforded without compensation. The NHS continues to be stretched and until this is rectified with adequate funding, training and appropriate levels and quality of staff, birth injury incidents will sadly continue.

If you believe that your family has suffered a significant injury due to medical negligence, contact our friendly team on 01253 766 559.

 

Comment

Coroner returns rare finding of neglect following death of Lytham man

1 Comment

Coroner returns rare finding of neglect following death of Lytham man

Blackpool assistant coroner Claire Doherty yesterday delivered a verdict of death by natural causes due to neglect following the death of 45-year-old Paul Wilkinson at Blackpool Victoria Hospital in May 2017.

The father of three was admitted as a priority patient into Blackpool Victoria Hospital on Friday 26 May complaining of severe abdominal pain and died just six days later from multiple organ failure and sepsis.

The Lytham based salesman had been perfectly healthy until two weeks prior to admission when he started suffering with muscle aches. A visit to his local GP resulted in a diagnosis of a suspected rheumatological condition and steroids were prescribed which initially eased his symptoms.

His partner, a former bowel cancer screening nurse at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, Louise Johnson said: “I am pleased that the coroner’s verdict has confirmed what I already knew but it’s very hard for our family. Paul had not slept well due to significant pain and was rushed to hospital at 6am on the Friday before the Bank Holiday weekend and admitted to A&E as a priority case.

“Paul was not one to complain but he was left in the corridor for more than an hour at one point and was shouting out in pain. The staff didn’t take his pain seriously despite two indicators showing that he had an infection. Over the course of the next six days his condition just got worse but he was initially only seen by junior doctors. No one seemed to take his condition seriously although he was displaying several very serious symptoms.”

Instructed to represent the family medical negligence specialist Leanne Devine at Addies commented: “We are very pleased with the coroner’s finding of neglect as we believe that Paul Wilkinson would have made a full recovery had he been given adequate medical care at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

“Paul was admitted as a priority patient but was given the level of care in the first few critical days as someone suffering a common cold. He should have been prescribed antibiotics on day one which could have saved his life.

“There were no trained nurses available to care for him and his medical care was initially left to junior doctors and healthcare assistants. Paul suffered very poor care during his final days and despite being admitted to Blackpool Victoria Hospital as a priority, was not seen by a consultant until 54 hours later during which his health progressively deteriorated.

“Our investigations to date have found that there were multiple failures in giving Paul the medical attention and treatment required. Paul’s condition deteriorated rapidly during his six day stay and we believe that his death was entirely preventable. We will now be pursuing the Trust for medical negligence.”

Paul leaves behind 10-year-old twins and a son aged two and a half years old.

 Ends

1 Comment

Inquest starts following alleged preventable death of Lytham man

Comment

Inquest starts following alleged preventable death of Lytham man

An inquest following the unexpected death of 45-year-old Paul Wilkinson will take place at the Blackpool & Fylde Coroner’s office starting on Monday 30 April at 10am.

Admitted into Blackpool Victoria Hospital last year on Friday 26 May complaining of severe abdominal pain, the father of three died just six days later from multiple organ failure and sepsis.

The Lytham based salesman had been perfectly healthy until two weeks prior to admission when he started suffering with muscle aches. A visit to his local GP resulted in a diagnosis of a suspected rheumatological condition and steroids were prescribed which initially eased his symptoms.

His partner, a former bowel cancer screening nurse at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, Louise Johnson said: “Paul had not slept well due to significant pain and was rushed to hospital at 6am on the Friday before the Bank Holiday weekend and admitted to A&E as a priority case.

“Paul was not one to complain but he was left in the corridor for more than an hour at one point and was shouting out in pain, but he was simply given some paracetamol. The staff didn’t take his pain seriously despite two indicators showing that he had an infection. Over the course of the next six days, his condition just got worse, but he was initially only seen by junior doctors.

“I was going back and forth from the hospital to look after our three children and witnessed medical staff simply reacting to his individual symptoms as they presented themselves rather than looking at the bigger picture to identify the real cause of his pain. I was desperately shocked at the lack of care given to Paul even though he was visibly getting worse and experiencing a lot of pain.

“No one seemed to take his condition seriously although he was displaying several very serious symptoms. Paul was visibly terrified when he was sent to ITU three days after he first went in. I never thought that that would be the last time that I’d speak to him.”

Instructed to represent the family at the inquest, medical negligence specialist Leanne Devine commented: “Paul suffered very poor care during his final days and despite being admitted to Blackpool Victoria Hospital as a priority, was not seen by a consultant until 54 hours later during which his symptoms progressively worsened.

“There were no trained nurses available to care for him and his medical care was initially left to junior doctors and healthcare assistants. Our investigations to date have found that there were multiple failures in giving Paul the medical attention and treatment required. Paul’s condition deteriorated rapidly during his six day stay and we believe that his death was entirely preventable. Paul’s family have also instructed us to pursue a claim of medical negligence against the Trust following the inquest findings.”

The inquest will hear from no less than 15 witnesses over the course of four days. Paul leaves behind 10-year-old twins and a son aged two and a half years old.

Ends

For more information and photographs contact Rana Audah on 07793 356 439 or via email at rana.audah@gmail.com

Comment

Failure to deliver basic patient care leads to £multi-million medical negligence claim

Comment

Failure to deliver basic patient care leads to £multi-million medical negligence claim

A Sri Lankan family recently found themselves at the centre of media attention after their son, born healthy via a caesarean section, later suffered a catastrophic brain injury due to medical negligence.

Now aged eight, he suffers with cerebral palsy as a result and is significantly impacted with impaired cognitive and physical abilities.

As medical negligence specialists supporting families who have suffered significant injuries due to medical errors, our cases often include mastering very complex medical circumstances and unravelling precise granular details to get to the truth.

In this case however, the baby boy was delivered in a perfectly healthy condition. His young 21-year-old mum did not speak English however, and was shy of character. 

Following his birth, he cried a lot and his mother attempted to get the attention of the attending midwives but her concerns were reportedly dismissed and she was discharged from hospital early.

We can only presume that this was her first child. As a new mother, it was vital that she received medical advice on how and when to feed her new-born and what to do should her baby experience problems with feeding as can sometimes be the case.

Speaking very limited English however, medical staff failed to involve an interpreter to ensure that this new mum left the hospital knowing exactly how to sustain and care for her baby.

During a subsequent home visit, the little boy was found with a pale appearance and was lethargic. It transpired that he had not been fed for 15 hours and he had very low blood pressure leading to irreversible brain damage.

Pregnancy and birth can lead to unexpected medical complications. In these circumstances medical staff are duty bound to provide the best possible care for mother and baby carrying out any appropriate tests, adequately and correctly reading the results, and delivering any required care in a timely manner.

This mother simply needed an interpreter and in this unique case, the lack of the appropriate level of patient care has changed her son and whole family’s lives forever.

During our medical negligence investigations working with some of the best medical minds in the country, our cases are often very difficult to prove because the difference between a child being born perfectly healthy and catastrophically injured can sometimes be down to a difference of just a few short minutes of delayed action.

This family simply didn’t receive the most basic patient care of adequate communication and supportive instructions on how to care for their new baby and advice on what they could do if they ran into any problems feeding him.

Having successfully delivered a health baby, the medical staff involved then sadly fell short of giving this patient the support she needed to look after her child. The media have reported that the family could receive multi-million-pound medical negligence compensation following the incident.

This level of NHS payout would be entirely appropriate to cover the lifetime needs of this boy who will need ongoing support via therapy, specialist equipment and likely requirement for home adaptations to make every day living easier.

The NHS Trust responsible in this case has reported that improvements have been implemented since this incident took place. What this case has highlighted is that medical duty of care doesn’t simply end when a baby is delivered.

To read more about the medical negligence compensation we have secured for families click here

If you believe that your family has suffered due to medical negligence, contact our specialist team of medical and legal experts on 01253 766 559 or email us with a summary of the NHS Trust involved, the dates of the incident and brief details of the injury at dr@addies.co.uk.

 

Comment

NHS to offer 3,000 more midwifery training places to boost patient safety

Comment

NHS to offer 3,000 more midwifery training places to boost patient safety

More than 3,000 additional places will be offered on midwifery training courses in England over the next four years as part of government plans to boost staff numbers and increase patient safety.

Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced the move, which is equal to a 25% increase in the number of training places. Mr Hunt said this was part of “the largest ever investment in midwifery training” and comes alongside an “incredibly well deserved pay rise for current midwives”.

The plans will see an additional 650 training places created next year, then a further 1000 a year for the following three years. The role of Maternity Support Workers (MSW) will also be professionalised, including the introduction of a national competency framework and voluntary accredited register.

A key goal of the increase in midwife training places is to ensure that mothers can be seen by the same midwife throughout their pregnancy, labour and birth. Mr Hunt announced that the majority of women should be receiving this ‘continuity of carer’ model by 2021, with the interim goal of 20% of women benefiting from the model by March 2019.

Making sure women have the same care team throughout all stages of their pregnancy and birth should have a marked impact on patient safety. Research suggests there are several clear benefits for mothers from continuity of care, including:

·      19% less chance of a miscarriage

·      16% less likelihood of losing their baby

·      24% less change of premature birth

Ensuring continuity of care is therefore intended to be an important step towards Mr Hunt’s ambition to cut by half the number of stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths and brain injuries that occur during or soon after birth by 2025.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) welcomed the announcement, but called it “very long overdue” with RCM chief executive Gill Walton drawing attention to her organisation’s history of campaigning on the issue of midwife shortages for over a decade.

Ms Gill said: “The priority for all maternity services is ensuring every woman has a named midwife during pregnancy and one-to-one care in labour. This is what maternity services are currently struggling to provide universally and consistently and this is why the new staff will be so crucial.”

However, Ms Gill claimed that training more midwives was only half of the solution as it was also vital to ensure that the newly qualified midwives would be able to secure jobs within the NHS. She highlighted the issue of funding, stating: “Trusts are going to need an increase in the money they get so they can employ the new midwives.”

Hopefully, this boost to training places, combined with the 6.5% pay increase offered to midwives (along with more than one million other NHS staff) will lead to a significant increase in midwife numbers over the next few years. This should then have a positive impact on patient safety, leading to a decrease in infant mortality and birth injuries to both babies and their mothers.

If you or your child were injured during childbirth due to errors in your care, you may be entitled to birth injury compensation. Our highly experienced birth injuries solicitors can offer you all of the support you need to claim compensation and ensure the best outcome for you and your family.

To discuss your case, please call 01253 766 559 or email dr@addies.co.uk.

Please be assured that any information you share with us will be treated with the strictest confidence.

Comment

Government's midwife pledge falls short, warns birth injury and trauma expert

Comment

Government's midwife pledge falls short, warns birth injury and trauma expert

Jeremy Hunt has announced plans to train an extra 3000 midwives over the next four years. But is it really enough?

Government plans to train thousands of extra midwives is still not enough to fully protect women and babies during labour, it is being claimed.

The health and social care secretary, Jeremy Hunt, recently announced moves to train more than 3000 extra midwives over the next four years.

He has also unveiled plans for women to have access to the same midwife throughout pregnancy, labour and birth.

But while the move has been welcomed by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), the organisation has also expressed concern that it will take until 2022 before all the new trainees are fully qualified.

And there is concern that the pledge for women to have a dedicated midwife is “too ambitious”.

Responding to the government announcement, Gill Walton, chief executive and general secretary of the RCM, warned: “It will not transform maternity services right now.

“It will take seven or eight years before all of the new midwives announced will be actually working in our maternity services.”

Now her concerns have been echoed by a leading medical negligence solicitor who specialises in birth injury and trauma.

Diane Rostron, who has seen first-hand the consequences of substandard maternity services, said: “The NHS’ commitment to increasing the number of trained midwives by 25 per cent is good news. However, much more needs to be done to ensure that all women receive the appropriate level of medical care during pregnancy and birth.

“In my 20-plus year career of representing families who have suffered significant, and avoidable, physical and psychological birth injuries or trauma , I have found that the errors made have not been due to a lack of midwives." 

"My clients, and their families, have suffered due to medical staff failing to appropriately monitor the foetus during labour and birth for example, or failing to respond appropriately or in a timely fashion, leading to preventable severe injuries or even baby deaths.”

The pledge to provide the majority of women with care from the same midwife throughout pregnancy, labour and birth by 2021 was also described as “ambitious” by the RCM leader.

She said: “The priority for all maternity services is ensuring that every woman has a named midwife during pregnancy and one-to-one care in labour. This is what maternity services are currently struggling to provide universally and consistently and this is why the new staff will be so crucial.

“When services are confident of this then they can move on to greater continuity of care for women,” she added.

Diane Rostron, who leads a team of birth injury specialists, said: “Providing enough midwives so that women have continuous care throughout their pregnancy and birth will make a big difference to many.

“Ensuring continuous training and support for all midwives to limit incidence of avoidable conditions such as cerebral palsy and other birth injuries is also needed.”

If you believe that your family has suffered a serious injury due to medical negligence, contact our friendly team on 01253 766 559.


 

Comment

Recognising the symptoms of Cerebral Palsy

Comment

Recognising the symptoms of Cerebral Palsy

 March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month. This non-progressive condition affects a lot of families in the UK, and worldwide, and impacts the whole family.

No two people experience cerebral palsy in the same way. Some cannot walk while others can run, some may be able to talk for England, others will find communicating difficult.

Each affected individual will face their own unique challenges. CP occurs when the brain suffers an injury before, during or soon after birth interfering with the messages between the brain and the body making movement and muscle co-ordination difficult.

Recognising the symptoms of cerebral palsy isn’t always obvious until a child reaches the age of two or three and may include some of the following symptoms:

·         Missing developmental milestones

·         Body is too stiff / too floppy

·         Weak arms or legs

·         Fidgety or clumsy

·         Random, uncontrollable movements

·         Walking on tiptoes

·         Problems with speech, vision or learning

The time before, during and shortly after birth is critical. If mother and baby are not carefully monitored during this time, cerebral palsy can occur if the baby’s brain suffers a bleed or deprivation of oxygen, if an infection is caught during pregnancy and is not appropriately treated, and if meningitis or a serious head injury is suffered during this sensitive period.

A small number of CP cases are caused by avoidable medical negligence. This can happen if one of the following medical errors take place:

·         Giving the wrong medication

·         Inadequate monitoring of the baby

·         No response or non-timely response to changes in foetal statistics or signs of distress

·         Failure to carry out appropriate tests

·         Deprivation of oxygen

Cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition with no cure and we understand that living with CP has an impact on the whole family. We specialise in working with families affected by CP and understand the impact that this has both now, and in the future.

We understand the specialist needs from finding and funding the right therapies, to buying the right equipment and making necessary home adaptations to make life easier.

Compensation can be sought if your child’s CP has been caused as a result of avoidable medical negligence. We have a strong track record of securing significant settlements to help families living with cerebral palsy get the support they need and cover the costs of the following:

·         Future medical care

·         Therapies including speech, language, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy

·         Home adaptations

·         Equipment such as sensory equipment or wheelchairs

·         Carers and other special arrangements

If you believe that your child has cerebral palsy due to avoidable medical negligence, contact a member of our specialist cerebral palsy medical negligence team for a free initial consultation on 01253 766 559.

Read more about the families that we have helped here.

Comment