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Birth injury

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


£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.


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


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.


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


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 



Maternity failings at Furness General Hospital a sore reminder


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


Birth trauma can affect more than just mother and baby


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.



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


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.



Inquest starts following alleged preventable death of Lytham man


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.


For more information and photographs contact Rana Audah on 07793 356 439 or via email at


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


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



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


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

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


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


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.



Coroners to investigate stillbirths – what this means for birth safety


Coroners to investigate stillbirths – what this means for birth safety

In November 2017, the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, announced plans for a new maternity strategy aimed at reducing the number of stillbirths in the UK. A key part of this plan is offering an independent investigation to families who suffer a stillbirth or life changing birth injury to their child to find out what went wrong. This is intended to help identify if mistakes were made before, during or immediately after the birth.

There have long been calls for it to be made a legal requirement for the deaths of stillborn babies to be referred to coroners. While some coroners do request that they be informed of all stillbirths, this was not enforceable or universally the case. With the UK having one of the worst rates of still birth in the western world (currently 4.5 per 1000 births) being able to investigate the circumstances surrounding these deaths is essential to help identify where mistakes are being made and improve birth safety.

 The Chief Coroner, Judge Mark Lucraft QC, had previously highlighted the issue that doctors are not legally required to report deaths to a coroner in his 2017 annual report to the Lord Chancellor. This means that opportunities are potentially being missed to learn from mistakes that were made by medical staff during a pregnancy or birth that resulted in the baby’s death.

 Under the new plans, any family who experiences a stillbirth, early neonatal death or severe brain injury will be referred to the new Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch, who will look into the circumstances surrounding the death or injury. Additionally, full-term stillbirths will now routinely be investigated by coroners.

 The aim of this new strategy is to ensure that where mistakes are being made in the care pregnant women and their babies receive before, during and after a birth, the reasons are identified so lessons can be learned.

 Mr Hunt said: “Countless mothers and fathers who have suffered like this say that the most important outcome for them is making sure lessons are learnt so that no-one else has to endure the same heartbreak. These important changes will help us to make ‎that promise in the future.”

 The Department of Health and Social Care also announced that it is bringing forward the date by which it intends to halve rates of stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths, and brain injuries occurring during or soon after birth from 2030 to 2025.

 It has to be hoped that, by standardising practices around referring stillbirths to coroners and giving families the option to have their child’s death or birth injury independently investigated, the number of stillbirths and birth injuries can be dramatically decreased while giving families some degree of comfort and closure.

These changes to how stillbirths and birth injuries are handled should also make is easier for families to claim compensation where appropriate by making it faster and easier to identify where medical mistakes were to blame for what happened. This should be of particular relevance to parents whose child has been left with a serious birth injury as compensation can make a significant difference to their child’s ability to live an independent, happy and fulfilling life.

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


'I could never imagine ever feeling happy again'


'I could never imagine ever feeling happy again'


Our client and brave mum Alison shared her story with Blackpool Gazette this week, read her story below:

“It was the darkest time of our life. I could never imagine ever feeling happy again.” Alison Baker and partner Chad Battersby, a tree surgeon with his own business, were thrilled when they discovered they were expecting a baby together and were full of excitement at the prospect of parenthood. Alison, 32, a family lawyer, recalls: “Macy was planned and we got pregnant very quickly and I remember being super excited about it all. “It was a pretty straightforward pregnancy and everything went smoothly.”

The couple, who live in Cleveleys, were told at a scan that Alison had a low lying placenta but that it was quite common and nothing to worry about. Alison had a couple of bleeds and medics decided to deliver her baby by emergency Caesarean Section at 33 weeks and two days.

Macy Wren Battersby was born on April 15 2015 at 4.44am and to her parents’ utter devastation and disbelief, she died just one hour and 46 minutes later at 6.30am. Her eyes filling with tears at the bleak memory, Alison says: “She was a perfectly well baby. There was no indication anything was wrong.

“It was totally heartbreaking for both of us.” Numb with grief, Alison describes how she struggled to cope and was gripped with anxiety and a whirlwind of emotions. Alison explains: “I had never been through anything so traumatic before. “I really tried my best to hold myself together in public but when I got home, I would sob and sob and sob.

“It was horrible. I did not realise I could cry like that. “I also felt anger. I hated my own body and was angry at it and blamed my body and felt I was a failure. “You feel like you have failed at something everybody else seems to do so easily. “You are constantly thinking: ‘What if?’ and want to turn back time and do things differently. “Even though there is nothing I could have done differently, I kept thinking if I had the benefit of hindsight there might have been or I would think: ‘What if she was delivered a day early?’

“For quite a while afterwards, I could never imagine ever feeling happy again or laughing or smiling again. “I remember thinking: ‘I wish someone would tell me when I will feel better.’

“I did not really want to see anyone apart from immediate family as I found it too nerve-wracking as I did not feel able to talk about it. “I developed anxiety and would feel panicked if I was going from one place to another. “It was difficult for both myself and Chad. We were both grieving. “We supported each other and that brought us closer. There is no one else in the world I shared that with.”

Alison admits that while she was going through that dark time, she found it difficult seeing women who were pregnant. Alison says: “I did not like to see anyone pregnant or with a newborn as I felt envious of them. “But as well as feeling envious of them, I felt frightened for them as I did not want the same thing to happen to them and I knew things could go wrong.”

Alison and Chad saw a counsellor for a while to help with their grief and Alison remembers her telling them: ‘You will either sleep too much or not at all.’ Alison says: “We both slept heavily. I wanted each day to go quickly and I did not want to be awake and thinking about it. “But the next morning, I would wake up and remember it all again.” Alison recalls feeling like she really wanted a baby and felt ready to be a mum. But she says: “I wanted Macy. I did not want another baby. “It took us a few months to get our heads around this.”

Alison says she eventually reached a point where she could contemplate trying for another baby. Alison explains: “I realised I could not change things and bring Macy back, but I could change not having children at all. “We had lots of tests to see if it was anything genetic that had caused Macy’s death. When it was confirmed it was not anything genetic, we decided we would like to try again.” Alison recalls how getting pregnant was then constantly on her mind and she became anxious as this time it seemed to take longer.

The couple discovered Alison was pregnant two weeks before Macy’s first birthday. Alison remembers: “It was very bittersweet. It felt very scary and I did not dare imagine we would end up having a baby. “People would tell me to try and enjoy the pregnancy. But I could not enjoy it as I did not want to lose another baby. “I felt very anxious and nervous and was panicking every day. “If you dared let yourself get excited, you would chastise yourself. It is like you are letting yourself in for another fall. “I was very careful during my first pregnancy and was the same again and did nothing to risk the baby.”

Laughing ruefully, Alison adds: “I should have been paying rent to the hospital as I was in there once or twice a week and all the midwives knew me. “They monitored me more regularly and I had a lot of scans. “They tried to put me at ease but I knew anything could happen and did not take anything for granted. “Every appointment, I was a bag of nerves.”

Pippa Autumn Battersby was born on November 15 2016 by planned Caesarean Section as Alison did not want to take any risks. Alison recalls: “Pippa was born weighing 5lbs 12oz and was healthy and well. “Her birth was very emotional. “When Pippa was born and I heard her crying, I remember shouting: ‘Give her to me!’ like a nutter. “As soon as they did, I felt better because I did not get to do that with Macy. “I was so happy but I remember saying to Chad: ‘Why could this not have happened the first time so Pippa could have a big sister and we would have both of them now?’ “Throughout my pregnancy with Pippa, I felt guilty for Macy as I knew we would potentially have a baby who would have everything in life Macy was supposed to have. “Some people think that when you have another baby, it will replace the baby you lost. “But that is not the case. You can never replace the baby you lost.

“I still think about Macy every day and we will never forget her.” Alison‘s advice to anyone going through the same thing is to voice their fears to health professionals and not to feel like there is a stigma. She says: “I never used to go to the doctors before this happened and I used to be conscious of wasting people’s time. “But if you have been through something like this, there is no one more deserving of the service so don’t be afraid to use it.”

Pippa will be celebrating her first birthday this week and Alison says she has brought so much joy into their lives. She says: “Pippa is brilliant and has given us our life back. “I thought I would never be happy again but she has brought happiness back into our life. “We love Pippa so much but we also love Macy and will never forget her.

“When you lose a baby, people are scared to speak to you about it as they don’t want to upset you. “But one of the nicest things people can do is remind you that they remember her. “One of the biggest fears is that people will forget her but we will never forget Macy. “My advice to anyone who has friends this has happened to is to not fear reminding them that you remember their baby.

“It is like a little gift when you remember.” 

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


Grandmother awarded compensation for suffering PTSD after watching daughter give birth


Grandmother awarded compensation for suffering PTSD after watching daughter give birth

My client's six year fight for justice.

As reported by Henry Bodkin in The Sunday Telegraph, please see below:

NHS hospitals face paying millions in compensation to family members whose loved-ones undergo botched medical procedures after a grandmother successfully claimed for suffering PTSD following the birth of her granddaughter.

Experts say the High Court ruling “turns the tide” in favour of family members claiming compensation in cases of medical negligence.

Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust were ordered to make the pay-out after a chaotic delivery which left the new-born with permanent neurological damage.

The unnamed baby, which came out “flat and purple with a swollen head”, did not start breathing for 12 minutes – her mother and grandmother believed she was dead.

Until now, family members traumatised from witnessing negligent medical procedures or their aftermath have found it extremely difficult to successfully claim damages. 

While patients groups have welcomed the new ruling, it could mean health bosses, wary of large legal bills, start limiting the number of relatives present during hospital procedures.

Nigel Poole QC, head of King’s Chambers and a medical negligence specialist, said: “I would not underestimate the importance of this decision.

“There are potentially a lot of people who could bring a claim like this.”

The High Court found the midwives at Calderdale Birthing Unit did not properly anticipate the risk of delivering a 10lbs baby.

The girl suffered an acute profound hypoxic ischaemic insult as a result of an unnecessary 11-minute delay in delivery in April 2011.

Mr Justice Goss also found the midwives had deliberately prevented a specialist obstetrician from entering the room during a crucial stage in the emergency, and that the hospital subsequently destroyed medical records after the legal action had begun.

The mother had raised concerns about the size of her baby during antenatal appointments, but the “offhand” midwives had told her “big babies just slip out”.

In the event, the girl’s shoulder became jammed behind her mother’s pelvic bone.

Historically, courts have been very reluctant to award damages to family members who witness traumatic scenes in hospital on the basis that it would open the floodgates to thousands of claims, and  that relatives should expect a degree of unpleasantness when they go to hospital.

However, Mr Justice Goss found that watching a complicated birth which resulted the appearance of a stillborn baby was “sufficiently horrifying” for both mother and grandmother to claim for PTSD.

Suzanne White, a medical negligence expert at Leigh Day, said that hospital chief executives normally try their best to settle these types of case behind closed doors because they want to avoid setting a precedent.

“This ruling puts the cat among the pigeons,” she said. “The NHS don’t like this kind of case because there could be a huge number of them.”

Rolf Dalhaug, of the campaign group 17 Dads, had to fight for compensation for his PTSD when one of his twins, Thor, lost his life during a delivery using forceps at Lincoln County Hospital in 2013.

Last night he welcomed the new ruling recognising the effect medical negligence can have on close family.

“The NHS don’t recognise it at all, I think it’s something they choose to actively supress,” he said. “I think this ruling is massively important and will have a big effect going forward.”

Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust has said it will appeal against the decision.

Line from trust: "The trust recognise and regret that a number of lives have been adversely affected by the events of this case."



Blackpool Health Trust's poor review poses death risks, says Coroners

Click to read the full article on The BBC Website. 

More patients could die at a hospital unless health bosses review the way serious incidents are investigated, a coroner has warned.

Blackpool coroner Alan Wilson raised his concerns over the internal review into a woman's death following routine surgery at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

He said Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust's probe into care given to Pamela Briggs was "flawed".

The trust said it has "already begun" a review of its serious incident process.

Missed opportunity

Mrs Briggs' lawyer, Diane Rostron, said she began to suffer with chest pains a week after her operation. 

"An ECG showed irregularities and that was a clear sign she had had suffered a heart attack. Unfortunately she didn't receive any interventional treatment for that. 

"The heart attack was caused by a blocked stent and a simple procedure could have relieved that blockage and may well have ensured Pam survived."

Ms Rostron said the 69-year-old then suffered a second heart attack at St Catherine's Hospice in Preston and died on 13 February after a "crucial window of opportunity" to treat her was missed. 

Mrs Briggs' sister, Chris Walton, said her sibling would still be alive if "appropriate treatment been given" and criticised the trust's investigation for "papering over very serious cracks".

Mrs Walton said the trust took almost seven months to produce its report - contrary to the 60 days in NHS guidelines - and she was "appalled" to discover the probe had been conducted by the doctor and matron responsible for her sister's care - while a key witness was ignored.

"I was dumbfounded; I felt that we were being laughed at," she said.

The coroner has now issued a "regulation 28 report" - a document aimed at preventing future deaths - to the trust and to the chief coroner of England and Wales.

Coroner's concerns 

  • The review was "not robust or thorough enough"

  • Failure to speak to a key witness - the cardiology registrar - meaning the review was based on "inadequate information". The coroner said this meant recommendations were "ill-informed" and "flawed" and "risks placing future patients in jeopardy"

  • One of the authors of the report was the surgeon who operated on Mrs Briggs which risked the perception of a lack of transparency and faith in the recommendations and a risk of failing to amend inappropriate practices

A spokesperson for the trust said the coroner was "not critical of the care given" and found evidence given by staff "extremely helpful" but acknowledged he "expressed some concerns regarding the quality of its incident report".

The trust, which has until January to respond, said a review is under way and "any proposals for changes" will be given to the coroner.

Mrs Walton said: 'This can't all be for nothing. Pam's death has to at least make them look at their actions and change their ways so that future deaths are avoided."

Click to view the video on The BBC Website.

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