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Nottingham maternity services ‘failing’ parents

Maternity services are failing parents, according to a coroner.

An inquest into the death of a baby has uncovered “undoubted failings” in post-natal care at Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham.

Although the coroner wasn’t able to determine to what extent the failures contributed to baby Teddy’s death in November 2020, Nottingham Trent Universities Hospital Trust (NUHT) has accepted that there were “systematic failings” and “misunderstandings”.

Sadie Simpson, from our sister company Switalksis Solicitors, who is representing Teddy’s family, said: “The conclusion into Teddy’s death has confirmed that there were undoubtedly failings in Teddy’s care and that the trust accepted that they failed to follow national and trust guidelines.

“There were systematic failings and senior leadership should have ensured guidelines were embedded in practice.

“There were concerns that there was a misunderstanding of the guidelines by the midwives. This misunderstanding had been going on for five years.

“Knowledge of the failings has been devastating for the family.”

In June this year an investigation by Channel 4 found that at least 46 babies had suffered brain damage and 19 were stillborn at Nottingham University Hospitals between 2010 and 2020. There had also been 15 deaths involving mothers and babies.

One parent, whose daughter was stillborn at one of the trust’s hospitals in 2016 called for an independent inquiry as she doesn’t believe the trust is being open or honest.

Sarah Hawkins’ daughter Harriet died before she took her first breath, but it took the trust 159 days to commission an external review into Harriet’s case.

Tracy Taylor, chief executive for the trust apologised to the bereaved families and said that improving maternity services was a top priority for the trust.

Have you been affected?

There are ongoing independent investigations into the trust and we would urge other parents whose babies have died or been injured to make sure their voices are heard. This is the only way that the services can be properly reviewed and these tragic deaths can be investigated fully.

If you would like a no obligation chat with our team, call in confidence 01302 320621.



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Scandal of hidden patient safety reviews

Patient safety reviews have been effectively hidden from regulators and the public.

An investigation by the BBC has found that a review of maternity services at Doncaster and Bassetlaw hospitals carried out by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in 2016, had identified serious patient safety concerns, but was never published

The review had been requested by the trust after a number of serious clinical incidents had been identified, including the lack of consultants.

The report has now been shared with a local couple, Beth and Dan Wankiewic, who have sought legal advice following the death of their baby boy. Clay died from multiple skull fractures shortly after his birth at Doncaster Royal Infirmary last July.

A junior doctor had twice tried to deliver the baby with forceps after having to get phone advice because there was no consultant on site. Eventually, the baby had to be pushed back up the birth canal so that a Caesarean section could be performed.

It was a further 30 minutes before the baby was born and despite attempts to resuscitate him, the couple were told that he had died.

A midwife later told the couple that she was being pressurised to say that the baby was stillborn, but she was sure he had been born alive. If a baby is stillborn there is no requirement for an inquest.

Beth commented: “My heart just dropped – reading point after point of things that resonate with us in Clay’s care that had been picked up in 2016. It was just heart breaking to know that they knew back then.”

The couple’s solicitor, Natalie Cosgrove, from our sister company, Switalskis, said that she had represented several families since the review where the issues identified have been a factor.

Maternity services at both hospitals run by the trust are currently rated by the hospital regulator as “Requires Improvement”.

It now seems that the report was just one of scores highlighting serious patient safety concerns in hospitals throughout the UK that have gone unpublished.

Freedom of Information requests by the BBC found that 111 reports have been written by medical royal colleges, which the NHS trusts have a duty to share. Despite this, of the 80 reports disclosed to the BBC, only 26 had actually been shared in full with regulators and only 16 had been published.

Dr Bill Kirkup, who led the 2015 investigation into the scandal at Morecambe Bay following the death of 11 babies and a mother, said that the findings were a “great disappointment.

“I can’t understand what the rationale would be for withholding the existence of a report or the findings of a report. These are important matters of accountability in the public service.”

You can see Natalie’s interview with BBC Look North here.

If you have been affected by medical negligence call and see how we can help – 01302 320621

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Shocking 20-year cover up after baby death

The parents of a baby girl have been seriously let down by authorities in a 20-year cover-up following the death of their daughter, a government inquiry has found.

Elizabeth Dixon, Lizzie as she was known, died of asphyxiation in 2001 when her tracheostomy tube became blocked while she was being cared for at home by a private nurse.

A government inquiry into Lizzie’s death found that there had been “shocking and harrowing” mistakes in her care.

In his report, Dr Bill Kirkup was particularly damning in his assessment of those involved in Lizzie’s care, saying that some had been “persistently dishonest”.

He said: “There were failures of care by every organisation that looked after her, none of which was admitted at the time, nor properly investigated then or later. Instead, a cover-up began on the day that she died, propped up by denial and deception.”

The catalogue of failures began at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey, where Lizzie was born. The hospital had failed to diagnose a tumour which probably led to Lizzie suffering brain damage, the report said.

There were then further errors by Great Ormond Street Hospital, who arranged Lizzie’s home care.

Dr Kirkup said that there was “clear evidence that some individuals have been persistently dishonest … and this extended to formal statements to police and regulatory bodies.”

 Lizzie’s “profound disability and death could have been avoided”, said  Dr Kirkup and called for an investigation by professional bodies, after a failed police investigation and a refusal by some health workers to give evidence to the inquiry.

Health minister, Nadine Dorries described a “harrowing and shocking series of mistakes associated with the care received by Elizabeth and a response to her death that was completely inadequate and at times inhumane.”

Lizzie’s parents welcomed the findings but said that further evidence of “wrong-doing” was not used by the inquiry.

Anne and Graeme Dixon, from Hampshire, said: “While we are pleased to see …. that some of the blatant lies, deception and cover-ups of mistakes and incompetence have been called out, we are disappointed that certain aspects of Lizzie’s care and the cover-up have not been addressed.”