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Birth injury

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

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£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.

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

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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.

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

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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 

 

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Maternity failings at Furness General Hospital a sore reminder

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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.

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Birth trauma can affect more than just mother and baby

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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.

 

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

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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.

 

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Inquest starts following alleged preventable death of Lytham man

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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.

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

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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.

 

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

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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.

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

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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.


 

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