The monthly round-up from the Anthony Collins Solicitors charities team.
The report follows a detailed analysis of all stillbirths, neonatal deaths and brain injuries sustained during childbirth across the UK in 2015, tragically 1,136 babies.
The analysis found that with different care, the outcomes might have been different for three-quarters of these babies. Warningly, this figure might be higher, as in over 400 incidents the local hospital investigation was so lacking that they couldn't analyse the care provided sufficiently.
The statement that there might have been ‘a different outcome with different care’ glosses over the gravity of the situation. In other words, if the care provided to over 700 mothers and babies in 2015 was better, those babies would have survived or not suffered a brain injury.
The analysis identified key areas for improvement, including monitoring the baby’s heartbeat during labour even though, the use of a cardiotogography (CTG) machine is standard practice in hospitals and has been for many years. The report makes recommendations regarding the use of this equipment, including to ensure that all relevant staff have annual training regarding monitoring. The co-principal investigator, Professor Zarko Alfirevic, explains
“Problems with accurate assessment of fetal well-being during labour and consistent issues with staff understanding and processing of complex situations, including interpreting fetal heart rate patterns, have been cited as factors in many of the cases we have investigated.”
Sadly, we have seen many cases where babies suffer injury or do not survive because staff missed the warning signs of the baby being distressed during labour, passing the opportunity to deliver before any harm was done.
We have brought many clinical negligence cases against hospitals across the country where errors were made with fetal heartbeat monitoring and CTG recordings. One of our clients brought a case arising from care received during labour at City Hospital in Birmingham. The staff incorrectly assessed the stage of labour the mother was in, which led to insufficient CTG monitoring and a failure to recognise the baby was suffering during protracted labour. Sadly, the baby did not survive.
Another client brought a case relating to care received during labour at, what was then, Dudley Hospital. The midwives failed to recognise the CTG showed the baby was distressed during labour, which meant the opportunity was missed to deliver her quickly. She suffered a brain injury due to lack of oxygen during birth, which led to cerebral palsy.
CTG monitoring is considered to be a critical area where improvements must be made to ensure the lives and wellbeing of mothers and babies in the future. The NHS has been running a national campaign, Saving Babies’ Lives, which mandates that all staff who care for women in labour must have annual training on CTG interpretation.
The campaign found that one in every 200 babies in the UK is stillborn, which is more than double the rate of nations with the lowest rates and that failing to understand CTG monitoring was an important factor in this.
For more information
For more information regarding clinical negligence cases arising from inadequate care of babies and mothers during labour, please contact Ann Houghton who will be happy to speak with you on an initial free, no obligation basis.
In this ebriefing, we identify what we see as the key messages arising from recent prosecutions in the care and housing sectors.
A recent High Court case on costs could prove essential reading for clients who have cases in the magistrates' courts.
The employment and pensions team offer practical advice on whistleblowing.
Partners, David Alcock and Sarah Patrice, have been involved in reviewing the new Code of Governance for community-led housing, published on 21 May 2021 by the Confederation for Coop Housing.
Following the eviction ban being lifted on 31 May 2021 and further to our previous ebriefing, the new notice of seeking possession forms are now available on the Government website as Word versions.
The European Court of Justice's standpoint on the Wiener Wohnen landowning developer case, and how the level of influence over the work did not amount to a decisive influence.
The Law Commission's Technical Issues in Charity Law report revealed that many charities struggle with a range of technical issue in the law.
The Law Commission recommended four key changes to the law in respect of mergers and the incorporation of charities which we have detailed in this ebriefing.
Over the last few weeks, we have published individual ebriefings on some of the key changes to be implemented following the Government’s response to the Law Commission’s report.
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