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An apology helps families heal following medical negligence

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.

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The families hurt by medical negligence need transparency to heal

The NHS successfully treats millions of patients every year. In a small number of cases however, avoidable errors occur leaving families devastated and needing answers.

In these circumstances, transparency and empathy from the start from the medical professionals involved is essential to the healing process of those affected.

We represent families who contact us in a desperate search for the truth. They have often tried dealing directly with the hospital involved looking for answers to the question of what went wrong.

They need a human response to their tragedy and an understanding of the pain caused. An open and transparent acknowledgement that mistakes were made and could have been avoided will not change what happened, but the empathy will help them during their healing journey.

It can sadly take many years before an apology is given – if it is given at all. It is now also taking longer for NHS Trusts to admit liability following a medical negligence incident leaving families further traumatised.

The psychological damage can be extensive as families face an altered future as they come to terms with a significant loss or a lifetime of real hardship following a serious injury. The support they need just to get through each day must meet their significant emotional, practical and financial needs as a medical negligence incident will touch every area of their lives.

For many, taking one step at a time, one day at a time, is the only way to cope. Many will come to us completely broken but they have the strength to fight for justice for their family. We support our clients through the compensation process with kindness, patience and understanding. 

Our approach is robust and relentless until the truth is exposed and some peace can be provided to the families we represent.

Read more about the families who have instructed us here.

For a free confidential consultation contact our friendly team of medical and legal specialists on 01253 766 559.

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Families affected by a birth injury suffer for life

Preventable birth injuries thankfully rarely occur with most babies delivered safe and well. For the small minority who are affected by an avoidable incident however, the physical and psychological effects are lifelong and impact every area of a family’s life. 

Taking place before, during or just after birth, a significant birth injury can lead to devastating disabilities impacting the baby both mentally and physically. These incidents are avoidable if the appropriate level of medical care is provided to both mother and baby.

It is heartbreaking when we talk to clients who face completely altered hopes and dreams for their family and who have to live with an uncertain future following a serious birth injury. Often, the full implications of an injury suffered before, during or just after birth, may not be known until a child is aged four or five.

The stress can easily be all encompassing as affected families start to consider what their new future may look like and how they will cope on a practical, financial and emotional level. We have represented families where grandparents who witnessed the traumatic birth of their grandchild have suffered with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which included anxiety and flashbacks. 

The effects are far reaching and last a lifetime. The families who have sadly experienced a birth injury need to consider their child’s lifelong care needs including therapies, specialist equipment, home adaptations, educational needs and for some, the financial burden of their child potentially never being able work due to their disabilities.

Representing families who have suffered a significant birth injury due to medical negligence for more than 20 years, we see the same recurring failings which include medical staff not monitoring the baby’s heart rate adequately or failing to recognise that the baby is in distress.

The mother may have had a perfectly healthy pregnancy, but something will change during labour and timely emergency medical intervention such as a caesarean section may be needed. 

Delays in diagnosis and treatment of just a few minutes can mean the difference between a healthy baby being delivered and one that is devastatingly, and permanently, injured. The profound effect on the whole family cannot be underestimated as they suffer the consequences for the rest of their lives.

If you believe that your family has suffered a preventable birth injury, contact our friendly team of specialists for a free confidential consultation on 01253 766 559.

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Compensation does not remove the pain following medical negligence

High value medical negligence settlements often hit the headlines, however, behind the £multi-million compensation payouts is significant hidden, and ongoing, hardship and pain.

The NHS treats millions of patients each year and, in most cases, the care provided leads to patients leaving hospital safe and well. For some however, medical failings lead to serious injuries impacting the lives of the individuals harmed and their entire family.

We support families in the most tragic of circumstances. In these situations, there really is no such thing as compensation. The hard fought for medical negligence payouts simply cover the cost of the support desperately needed to enable these families to do the everyday things that most will take for granted.

Incidents that involve a baby being significantly injured at birth are devastating. For the families who experience this, the hardship and emotional suffering never ends. These incidents are complex and can take several years to prove.

Securing compensation comes as a huge relief to these families who are then in a position to be able to afford the care, equipment, therapies, home adaptations and more as they learn – day-by-day – how to tackle life with a significantly disabled child who may be dependent for life.

The sums involved are often large amounts but what isn’t always understood is that these payouts have to last for an individual’s entire lifetime and cover very complex – and costly – needs. The compensation really is a lifeline for the families who have struggled for years before a settlement is reached with the NHS Trust involved.

The journey for affected families does not end after a claim is won, however. Their quality of life improves, but no amount of compensation can give them the life that their family should have had had the preventable incident not taken place in the first place.

If you believe that your family has suffered a preventable birth injury, contact our friendly team of specialists for a free confidential consultation on 01253 766 559.

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The emotional needs of the families affected by medical errors are often neglected

Families who have suffered serious, and preventable, birth injuries are often emotionally neglected.

Sorry is a powerful word that goes a long way towards the emotional healing of the families who have been devastated following medical negligence.

We support families who have experienced the entire course of their lives being dramatically changed following avoidable significant injuries. We frequently hear that they have never received an acknowledgement for the mistakes made, nor a simple apology, from the medical professionals involved in their care.

We represent families across the country, and this is sadly a common theme regardless of the NHS Trust involved. The lack of forthcoming empathy can further compound the psychological trauma that follows these incidents and can often be overlooked.

Saying sorry is a simple gesture that demonstrates that those entrusted with patient care recognise the pain, devastation, and lasting impact that these families have to live with.

NHS Resolution published a leaflet encouraging doctors and nurses to be honest with patients following significant medical negligence. We are yet to see a real change, however.

NHS Resolution published its ‘Saying Sorry’ leaflet in April 2017 to encourage ‘openness, transparency and candour’ within the NHS.

It states that ‘saying sorry is always the right thing to do. Not an admission of liability. Acknowledges that something could have gone better. The first step to learning from what happened and preventing it recurring.’

Until there is a real change in the mindset within the NHS, these families will continue to be hurt by the additional pain of feeling that those responsible simply don’t care. NHS Resolution, the body that manages compensation claims against the NHS, encourages staff to be open, transparent and to practice candour with patients.

Put into practice, this would not only provide families who have suffered avoidable birth injuries with emotional support, but also paves the way to genuine learning and improvements in maternity care to ensure patient safety.

Families who have suffered a birth injury due to medical negligence can contact our friendly team for a free initial consultation on 01253 766 559.

 

 

 

 

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Timely sepsis treatment is 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.

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.

Sepsis is perfectly treatable with a course of antibiotics. A missed, or delayed, diagnosis however, can have devastating effects with the infection developing into widespread damage which can mean multiple organ failure. It’s extremely painful for patients if left untreated and ultimately, can lead to a preventable death.

The symptoms of sepsis can be similar to other conditions however, the NICE guidelines are very clear – antibiotics must be given even if sepsis is suspected and yet to be formally diagnosed. One of our clients was admitted to his local hospital as a priority patient with clear sepsis symptoms.

He was left for several days while still in hospital as this deadly condition took hold and eventually affected multiple organs. He suffered a lot of pain during this time while his partner had to witness his deterioration leading to his untimely death in his mid-40s. It is really incredibly hard for families who have suffered this type of loss, particularly in the knowledge that it was entirely avoidable.”

It currently takes up to 72 hours to diagnose sepsis. The symptoms in adults include:

·         A high temperature

·         Chills and shivers

·         A fast heartbeat

·         Fast breathing

·         Dizziness or feeling faint

·         Confusion or disorientation

·         Nausea or vomiting

·         Diarrhoea

·         Not passing water over a prolonged period

·         Cold, clammy, pale or mottled skin

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

If your family has suffered a significant injury or loss due to failures to treat sepsis in a timely manner, contact our friendly team for a free initial consultation on 01253 766 559.

 

 

 

 

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Maternity units run by Cwm Taf University Morgannwg Health Board placed into special measures

Leading birth injuries solicitor Diane Rostron comments on the announcement made today (30th April 2019) that the maternity services managed by the Cwm Taf University Morgannwg Health Board have been placed under special measures:

“The findings of the independent investigation vindicate the serious concerns that I, and the families that I represent, have had for several years in relation to the maternity units run by the Cwm Taf University Morgannwg Health Board.

“The level of patient care delivered at these units has been significantly below the expected standards for a period that precedes the scope of this investigation by several years.

“The investigation has highlighted serious failings at every level. Further questions must be asked with regards to why the Health Board failed to address the in-depth review carried out by a consultant midwife in September 2018 which exposed the same shortfalls in the service being provided to mothers and babies within its maternity units.

“My team are currently representing several affected families with incidents including what we believe were preventable birth injuries. Serious failings have continued at these hospitals for more than a decade based on our current evidence.

“There will sadly no doubt be several more families who were either told, or simply believed, that the death or serious birth injury suffered by their family was just one of those things and who may well now question whether this was actually the case.

“While placing the maternity services into special measures vindicates the concerns of the families who have suffered historically, it is extremely concerning for the mothers-to-be who will need reassurance that significant action and preventative measures are being put into place immediately to prevent further families from suffering in the same way.”

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Affected families can contact Diane Rostron and her team for a confidential consultation on 01253 766 559.

 

 

 

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Scan to prevent unnecessary c-sections is positive news

In April, researchers at Cambridge University revealed that an extra ultrasound scan, offered to mothers-to-be at 36 weeks to facilitate the early detection of breech babies, could prevent unnecessary c-sections.

The findings are positive news - if implemented within the NHS - allowing time for appropriate medical interventions to take place in advance leading to an increase in the number of safe natural births.

Leading birth injuries solicitor Diane Rostron commented: “It is estimated that providing the additional scan will prevent around 4,000 unnecessary c-sections every year in England and Wales. A breech birth, where the baby is facing bottom first, can prove very risky to both mother and child and can lead to further complications.

“Current practices mean that a breech birth is only discovered during labour resulting in the need for an emergency caesarean if the baby cannot be turned in time. Prevention is key with an additional scan potentially facilitating this.”

According to the NHS, the immediate risks of a c-section to a mother include:

-       The wound or the womb being infected

-       Excessive bleeding during the procedure potentially leading to the need for a blood transfusion

-       Deep vein thrombosis

-       Potential damage to the bladder and the tubes connecting this to the kidneys

Babies also face some serious risks during a caesarean procedure:

-       Breathing problems

-       Being cut during the c-section

Caesareans can also increase the potential risks during further pregnancies. Preventative measures to avoid breech deliveries taken well in advance of a baby’s due date can also avoid the time pressure placed on medical staff.

Diane Rostron continued: “Current practices mean that a delay of just a few minutes in diagnosing a breech delivery and performing an emergency c-section can lead to catastrophic injuries or even the death of the baby. While pregnancy and birth are the most natural and joyous time, caution and careful monitoring is essential up until the safe delivery of the baby with the new research a very welcome development”.

Diane Rostron and her team specialise in supporting families who have suffered an avoidable birth injury or baby death as a result of medical negligence. If your family has been affected, please contact her friendly team for a free initial consultation on 01253 766 559.

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New pre-eclampsia test will help increase patient safety

News of a new blood test which promises to detect pre-eclampsia in half the time as current methods is a welcome development.

The condition, which is developed by around one in ten women in the latter stages of pregnancy, can prove fatal if not diagnosed and monitored appropriately. The new test will be rolled out across the NHS following a study in the Lancet.

Pregnancy is a joyful time for many women, but it is essential that both mother and baby are carefully monitored throughout. Pre-eclampsia can prove very dangerous potentially leading to babies being born prematurely or, in more severe cases, can prove fatal if not detected and treated before complications develop.

The current methods can take up to four days involving both urine and blood pressure tests. The new test promises to detect pre-eclampsia in half the time reducing incidents where patient safety is at risk.

Pre-eclampsia can occur at any time after 24 weeks to the end of a pregnancy. The NHS advises that early symptoms include high blood pressure and, in some cases, fluid retention causing swelling in the feet, ankles, face and hands.

Other symptoms which may develop include:

-          Severe headache

-          Problem with sight

-          Pain just below the ribs

Pregnancy and birth is a precious time but also a time when both mother and baby are at their most vulnerable. Medical innovation at a time when many maternity units across the country are under increasing scrutiny will be a welcome relief for mothers to be.

Diane Rostron and her team have more than 20 years’ medical negligence experience specialising in birth injuries. Families who have suffered a significant injury before, during or just after birth can contact the team for free initial advice on 01253 766 559.

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Birth trauma has wide reaching effects

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

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.

Giving birth is a vulnerable time for both mother and baby but also a precious time that many women choose to share not only with their partners, but also with wider family members.

When things go to plan and both mother and baby are carefully monitored by medical professionals throughout, it’s a moment that is always remembered and treasured. In rare instances when medical errors occur however, this can quickly turn into a living nightmare leading to not only avoidable physical birth injuries, but psychological trauma for the mother and wider family.

The mental scars can be as devastating and long lasting as the physical injuries but can often go untreated or misdiagnosed as post-natal depression. It can sometimes also be overlooked that partners or grandparents who witnessed the events are also left traumatised and in need of support.

Wider family members who are present at a traumatic birth can be significantly impacted emotionally as they witness the difficult events leading to symptoms such as anxiety and depression.

We have represented families where grandparents have been diagnosed with PTSD after witnessing the extremely distressing birth of their grandchild. We secured compensation to provide the support that they needed following the incident which affected the whole family.

There is support out there and birth trauma is increasingly recognised and talked about.

Families who believe that they may have suffered both physical and psychological birth injuries due to medical negligence can contact our friendly team for a free initial consultation on 01253 766 559.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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Lack of training leads to 76% of preventable baby deaths or injuries

A report published by national charity Baby Lifeline in November 2018 has found that as many as three out of every four baby deaths or injuries were avoidable.

Its Mind the Gap report also found that midwives, doctors, paramedics and nurses were either unaware of or ignored official guidelines when caring for women experiencing a difficult labour.

The findings also revealed that less than 8% of NHS Trusts provided staff with all the training components in NHS England’s ‘Saving Babies Lives – Care Bundle for Reducing Stillbirths’.

The care bundle includes:

-          Reducing smoking in pregnancy

-          Risk assessment and surveillance for fetal growth restrictions

-          Raising awareness of reduced fetal movement

-          Effective fetal monitoring during labour

Less than two fifths (38%) of NHS Trusts recorded staff training attendance at 90% or over with the lack of training provision mainly due to staffing and availability of finance while staff sickness was the key reason for reduced attendance.

The report further highlights the growing crisis in maternity units and the critical need for more funding and adequate training levels.

The government provided £8.1 million of funding for maternity training in 2017 and has pledged to increase the number of midwives but more is required to raise maternity care standards.

If you have been affected by a birth injury due to medical negligence contact a member of our friendly team on 01253 766 559 or email us at dr@addies.co.uk

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Promise of more neonatal nurses not enough

The government’s ambitious announcement on 30 December to make the NHS “the best place to give birth in the world” should be met with caution.

The Department of Health and Social Care’s objectives include improving the safety, quality and continuity of care for women. The plans promise more neonatal nurses and other specialists to halve the number of stillbirths, maternal and infant deaths and serious birth injuries by 2025.

The continued focus and funding for maternity units is desperately needed. The announcement is positive news for pregnant women and for those who plan to start or grow their family in the future. This is just the start of addressing some of the key issues in maternity units across the country, however.

A greater commitment and focus on providing adequate, and ongoing, staff training is essential. The recurring issues that we see point to a lack of sufficient training and communication.

Medical staff failing to listen and adequately react to pregnant women’s concerns is sadly common.

Other repeated issues in hospitals across England and Wales include failing to recognise when more senior staff need to be involved when there are signs that the baby is in distress during labour and inadequate monitoring during this vulnerable period.

The health and social care secretary has promised “personalised, high quality support” for women from pregnancy through to their child’s first months.

Women need to feel safe when being cared for during their pregnancy through to birth. They should be able to take for granted that the care that they receive at this precious time is adequate.

They should also be able to trust that the specialists will be appropriately trained to recognise when things may potentially go wrong and to respond accordingly to prevent this from happening.

If your family has suffered following a birth injury, contact our friendly team for a free confidential consultation on 01253 766 559.

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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.

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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 766 559 or email a summary of the circumstances to dr@addies.co.uk

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

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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.”

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