When joy turns to tragedy, parents deserve to know the truth

15th October 2015

When joy turns to tragedy, parents deserve to know the truth

Romantic portrait of sleeping little angel

The birth of a baby should be a time of happiness and celebration. Sadly, though, for some families the anticipated joy of a new arrival can quickly turn to grief.

According to NHS figures, 1,300 babies died or were injured during birth in the UK in 2014, while another 1,000 were stillborn.

Research shows that in most cases these incidents were caused by the failure of midwives and doctors to adequately monitor a baby’s heart rate during labour, thus starving them of oxygen during the birth process.

The result of these failings has been an increasing volume of clinical negligence claims involving brain-injured, disabled and stillborn babies.

A recent study carried out by the University of Leicester discovered a failure nationally to ensure both proper monitoring of foetal growth during pregnancy and a baby’s heart rate during the critical period leading up to and during birth.

Researchers recommended that hospital trusts should be required to carry out a full inquiry after such an incident with an independent reviewer.

For any parent coming to terms with the pain of losing a new-born – or the realisation that their infant has been injured or left with a disability – the ordeal is made even worse by the failure of a hospital trust to explain what has happened, to review the causes of the tragedy and to offer reassurance that lessons have been learned.

Clinicians should always tell patients when things have gone wrong, to apologise and to try and put things right. This is in addition to their ethical requirement to be open and honest, and the more recent statutory duty of candour, which came into effect in 2014. Under the duty, NHS Trusts are required to advise patients of notable safety incidents including those which, in the opinion of a Health Care Professional, could result in significant harm.

The scope of the duty of candour was extended in April of this year to cover private care as well.

For the family of a child who has suffered injury at birth, the duty of candour could have a very significant bearing.

For example, in the case of an infant who has suffered a period of oxygen starvation (hypoxia) during birth in an NHS hospital, the family should be informed that the event could result in significant harm. In those circumstances, should the child fail to meet the expected developmental milestones as he or she grows up, the family would be able to take that information into account when considering what action to take.

However the family of a baby delivered in a private hospital in similar circumstances could be left unaware that there had been any such problem, meaning they wouldn’t know the possible reasons behind the child’s stunted development. It may be they endure a delay of several years before establishing the truth of what actually happened.

If you or any member of your family have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, contact Chris Moffat of the Medical Negligence Dept on 01473 298189 who would be happy to discuss your case to see how she may be able to help.

Partner
Practice Areas
Agriculture and Rural Property
Commercial Property
Partner
Practice Areas
Business Immigration
Employment Law
Kay Baker
Associate Solicitor
Practice Areas
Court of Protection
Elderly Client Advice
Making a Will
Trusts and Tax
Judy Barfoot
Wills & Probate Executive
Practice Areas
Making a Will
Power of Attorney
Paralegal
Practice Areas
Conveyancing
Legal Assistant
Practice Areas
Criminal Law Solicitors
Road Transport
Partner
Practice Areas
Conveyancing
Court of Protection
Making a Will
Power of Attorney
Probate
Administration Executive
Practice Areas
Accident and Personal Injury Claims
Medical Negligence
Chartered Legal Executive and Associate
Practice Areas
Accident and Personal Injury Claims
Solicitor
Practice Areas
Agriculture and Rural Property
Commercial Property
Partner
Practice Areas
Commercial Dispute Resolution
Criminal Law Solicitors
Dispute Resolution
Head of Marketing and Business Development
Property Paralegal
Practice Areas
Conveyancing
Associate Solicitor
Practice Areas
Commercial Property
Partner
Practice Areas
Probate
Trusts and Tax
Partner
Practice Areas
Dispute Resolution
Partner
Practice Areas
Accident and Personal Injury Claims
Chartered Legal Executive
Practice Areas
Making a Will
Power of Attorney
Probate
Trusts and Tax
Chartered Legal Executive
Practice Areas
Conveyancing
Paralegal
Practice Areas
Conveyancing
Solicitor
Practice Areas
Children
Divorce
Separation
Licensed Conveyancer
Practice Areas
Conveyancing
Partner
Practice Areas
Business Law
Partner
Practice Areas
Medical Negligence
Partner
Practice Areas
Medical Negligence
Associate Solicitor
Practice Areas
Making a Will
Power of Attorney
Probate
Associate Solicitor
Practice Areas
Conveyancing
Solicitor
Practice Areas
Court of Protection
Making a Will
Power of Attorney
Probate
Trusts and Tax
Chartered Legal Executive
Practice Areas
Children
Divorce
Separation
Consultant
Practice Areas
Employment Law
Planning
Chartered Legal Executive, Associate
Practice Areas
Accident and Personal Injury Claims
Medical Negligence
Wills & Probate Executive
Practice Areas
Making a Will
Probate
Wills & Probate Executive
Practice Areas
Court of Protection
Making a Will
Power of Attorney
Probate
Solicitor
Practice Areas
Court of Protection
Making a Will
Power of Attorney
Probate
Partner
Practice Areas
Children
Divorce
Separation
Partner
Practice Areas
Commercial Property
Chartered Legal Executive
Practice Areas
Dispute Resolution
Partner
Practice Areas
Accident and Personal Injury Claims
Criminal Law Solicitors
Regulatory
Fellow of the IoP
Practice Areas
Making a Will
Power of Attorney
Probate
Partner
Practice Areas
Business Law
Solicitor
Practice Areas
Commercial Property
Chartered Legal Executive
Practice Areas
Conveyancing
Chartered Legal Executive
Practice Areas
Conveyancing
Partner
Practice Areas
Business Law
Commercial Dispute Resolution
Dispute Resolution
Associate Solicitor
Practice Areas
Accident and Personal Injury Claims
Partner
Practice Areas
Children
Divorce
Separation
Associate Solicitor
Practice Areas
Conveyancing
Trainee Legal Executive
Practice Areas
Criminal Law Solicitors
Legal Assistant
Practice Areas
Conveyancing
Partner
Practice Areas
Court of Protection
Power of Attorney
Probate
Trusts and Tax
Partner
Practice Areas
Employment Law
Chartered Legal Executive
Practice Areas
Accident and Personal Injury Claims
Medical Negligence
Partner
Practice Areas
Commercial Property
Chartered Legal Executive
Practice Areas
Making a Will
Power of Attorney
Probate
Blog Posts

Would you let your child drink two coffees, each containing up to ten sugar cubes, before school every day?

30/08/2018

For any responsible parent, the answer is no - yet, tens of thousands of…

Read More
Upcoming Events

The Great Framlingham Sausage Festival

13/09/2018

Gotelee are proud to announce that we will be sponsoring the famous Great Framlingham…

Read More
News Posts

National Stress Awareness Day

07/11/2018

National stress awareness day is a countrywide campaign to highlight the impact that stress…

Read More

Testimonials

"Approachable, very efficient, always willing to take my calls and update me."

- SH

"We were very pleased to have Jade as our solicitor, the service was excellent and we felt kept in the loop which minimised stress"

- CT

"I have used Tracey Laflin at Gotelee on a number of occasions and in my opinion, she is simply the most efficient conveyancing solicitor I have ever worked with. From the outset, she took the time to understand my specific business requirements and to date, she has exceeded all of my expectations."

- Dale Fiddy - Portobello Developments Ltd

"I don't think this house sale would have pulled together without Jo's determination and expertise. Excellent!"

- MT

"Jade Shelton was absolutely fantastic!! Professional and proactive at all times."

- JH

"This is by far the go-to firm for any issues. You are made to feel valued from the outset and they are so confident in what they do. Wouldn't recommend any other. Thank you Hugh and Max."

- Ros Jones

"Domini was very fast and efficient in carrying out her work for me - she was also very good at explaining things to me"

-

"Prompt, helpful, polite and very professional service"

-

"The ease that we could access and speak to Pat Smith - Thank you"

-

"We found Rachel Dawson outstanding, polite, professional and caring."

-

Please select preferred method of contact

* We will only contact you by telephone if you select this as primary form of contact. All web enquiries will be stored on our website for 30 days.