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Blackpool birth injuries lawyer highly ranked in legal directory

Blackpool based birth injuries specialist Diane Rostron has been ranked in the 2020 Legal 500 directory which recognises the top lawyers in the UK.

Ranked amongst large national medical negligence law firms with offices in the North West, Legal 500 describes Rostron as the ‘powerhouse behind a small team’ recognising her commitment and compassion towards clients.

A testimonial published in the annual directory said: “Diane Rostron’s dedicated support and personal commitment to clients, and their families, makes her stand out from others in the field. She is the most committed and compassionate of solicitors that I have come across in dealings with in excess of 50 UK and worldwide law firms.”

Commenting on her Tier 3 ranking, birth injuries lawyer Diane Rostron said: “Our dedication and focus for the past 20 plus years has been on clients first but we are delighted to be recognised amongst a number of specialist large firms for the service we deliver.

“Medical negligence, and birth injuries particularly, leave families in incredibly traumatic and challenging circumstances. The significant, and preventable, harm suffered lasts a lifetime. Our job of course is to secure the £multi-million settlements needed by these families in order to cover the extensive, and relentless costs of carers, therapy, equipment and other needs as a result of the injury sustained.

“These cases are complex, and we work tirelessly to not only secure justice for our families, but to support them through what can be a lengthy and difficult legal process. We get to know each and every client well in order to get a full picture of their individual circumstances and needs. Our support also continues long after a settlement is secured.

“To be recognised by barristers, other lawyers, medical experts and clients as amongst the best in the country, competing against much larger teams, is a fantastic accolade.”

Diane Rostron and her team secured £27 million in 2018 for a seven-year-old Blackpool boy left brain damaged following a birth injury.

To find out more about the families that the team have helped click here.

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An elective or planned caesarean may be the safest option according to recent study

Research published in PLoS Medicine in September 2019 found that once a woman had delivered a baby via a caesarean section, subsequent births were safer for mother and baby if a c-section was repeated rather than attempting a natural birth.

According to the study, which looked at 74,000 births in Scotland, 28.4% of the women who had previously had a c-section, but subsequently chose to deliver their next baby naturally, ended up having an emergency caesarean.

One in four babies are born by c-section in the UK – half of those are planned or elective c-sections and the other half are emergency caesareans when complications have arisen during a natural birth according to data published by the BBC.

While childbirth is the most natural thing in the world, it can prove risky if both mother and baby are not carefully monitored throughout – this applies to both vaginal and caesarean births. Pregnant women also have a right to be fully informed by medical staff in order to make the appropriate choice in their personal circumstances, taking into account their individual medical history.

Caesarean births have been subject to controversy, not least because many women are reportedly refused a c-section by their local hospital, often on the grounds of cost.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has a “woman-centred care” guidance in relation to c-sections which states that “pregnant women should be offered evidence-based information and support to enable them to make informed decisions about childbirth. Addressing women’s views and concerns should be recognised as being integral to the decision-making process.”

NICE guidelines are not always followed however, and many women find themselves refused a c-section or not being offered the option in the first place.

In August 2018, Birthrights published a report exposing that the majority of NHS Trusts made requesting a c-section an unnecessarily arduous process for pregnant women.

Its findings also found that nearly three quarters (74%) of NHS Trusts did not offer mothers the option of having a c-section in line with best practice guidance published by NICE.

The report also revealed that 15% of NHS Trusts had policies or processes that did not support giving mums the option.

There are pros and cons to vaginal versus caesarean births of course. However, what should be avoided are circumstances leading to medical intervention and an emergency c-section which can place both mother and baby at heightened risk.

An emergency c-section takes place when something has gone wrong. In some cases, this may be due to mother and baby not being monitored carefully enough by medical staff or complications arising during a natural birth because the mother has not been given the option, or has been refused, a caesarean.

In a small number of cases when things go terribly wrong, the baby can suffer severe injuries before, during or after birth, leading to lifelong physical, psychological and behavioural difficulties.

Prevention is key, and it is essential therefore, that pregnant women are provided with clear and transparent advice about all the available options. All mothers should also be given the choice of whether a natural or caesarean birth is the best method for the safe delivery of their baby. Their decision should always be respected in line with NICE guidance.

Our team of medical and legal experts specialise in acting for families who have suffered a preventable, and significant, birth injury. We understand the extensive financial, emotional and practical support needed by families who have been through this traumatic experience.

Our established team has extensive experience in handling complex birth injury claims with a strong track record of securing £multi-million settlements to help make life a little easier and ensure that lifelong support can be afforded.

For a free initial consultation, contact Diane Rostron and her team on 01253 766 559 or send a summary of your claim to dr@addies.co.uk

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An apology helps families heal following medical negligence

Families who have suffered as a result of medical negligence need an apology from the professionals involved to help with their healing as they cope with the devastating aftermath.

All NHS patients are entitled to openness and transparency following a preventable incident as medical staff have a statutory Duty of Candour to those whose care they are responsible for.

In circumstances where a serious injury has occurred, particularly when it involves a baby, it is so important for the hospital involved to show that they care by acknowledging what happened and offering the family a heartfelt apology.

This really does help in showing affected families that the NHS cares about what happened to them and acknowledges that it failed in its duty of care. When a mother goes into hospital to have her baby, she has a right to trust that the level of care provided to her and her baby will keep them both safe.

The physical and psychological damage felt by an entire family following an avoidable birth injury cannot be imagined. The effects last a lifetime. A simple sorry will not change these tragic circumstances but by reaching out to patients with honesty and kindness, medical staff can help with their healing.

NHS Resolution, which manages compensation claims brought against the NHS, published its Saying Sorry leaflet in June 2017 to improve patient care and highlights that the Compensation Act 2006 states that an apology does not in itself equate to an admission of liability.

It is sadly rare that our clients receive an apology soon after a serious birth injury when they need it most. At this time particularly, they are experiencing mixed emotions as they learn to cope with their family’s altered future. Their feelings range from deep hurt and confusion to anger, frustration and pain.

We represent clients across England and Wales and a common trend I’m sad to say, is that apologies are often what they want the most however, there are very few cases where the hospital involved provides this.

The lack of evident empathy only serves to deepen the pain and distrust in the NHS leading to further anxiety as they are then put in a position where they have to fight simply to gain an acknowledgement and redress.

Medical negligence compensation is far from a lottery win. The families who must take the legal route following a birth injury when medical care has fallen well below an acceptable standard, need the compensation in order to manage the injuries caused.

Birth injuries can lead to serious lifelong disabilities. Some of these children will require care for their entire lives. Some may never be able to work due to the severity of their injuries. Parents, and other family members, may have to give up work in order to care for their child as a result.

This really is just the tip of the iceberg as whole families suffer the consequences with PTSD not uncommon as they cope in the knowledge that it should have been very different.

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

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The families hurt by medical negligence need transparency to heal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more about the families who have instructed us here.

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

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Families affected by a birth injury suffer for life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Improvements urgently needed in some Shropshire maternity services

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Promise of more neonatal nurses not enough

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Improvements still needed to avoid birth injuries in Cumbria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our team of medical and legal specialists offer more than 20 years’ experience in dealing with medical negligence incidents. We listen when other professionals have failed to do so. If you, or your family, have been significantly injured as a result of medical errors, contact a member of our friendly team on 01253 766 559 or email a summary of the circumstances to dr@addies.co.uk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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£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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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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Coroner returns rare finding of neglect following death of Lytham man

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Coroner returns rare finding of neglect following death of Lytham man

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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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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