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Maternity care

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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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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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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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