Death In Childbirth Is Not Being Investigated Properly14th Jun 2016
No parent ever fully recovers from the death of a child. The emotional trauma is devastating. It stays with them for the rest of their lives.
Obtaining an apology from the hospital and an explanation of what went wrong is crucial. Parents wronged by the NHS quite rightly expect a full and frank explanation and absolute contrition.
But to compound their misery, some deaths are being investigated inadequately.
Findings by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists show that 27 per cent of some 204 investigations reviewed were of poor quality.
As experienced medical negligence solicitors, we are not surprised by the findings of this enquiry. Deeply saddened but not surprised.
We know how hard the NHS can dig in when facing a compensation claim for death or severe injury in childbirth.
Compensation can run to £8 million in these cases – particularly when a child survives but sustains brain injuries that will require round-the-clock care 24/7 for the rest of his or her life.
The fear of having to pay substantial compensation may well be the driving force behind the NHS’s reluctance to admit its failures.
We have seen examples of the health trusts stubbornly trying to defend compensation claims they know to be valid.
It has to stop. But sadly we doubt it will.
Last March Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced plans to make the NHS more open in order to improve safety and transparency.
We have seen little evidence of that happening. Human nature has a compelling imperative: avoid blame.
So the idea that the NHS ‘supertanker’ will suddenly change course is at best optimistic and at worst naive. Jeremy Hunt may be spinning the ship’s wheel but the rudder has yet to move.
We have little faith in the NHS’s internal complaints procedure – or the hope that one can gain any meaningful redress voluntarily from the people who made the errors.
What is the solution? Seek truth and justice by suing the NHS.
One should not have to do so. The NHS remains for many a much loved national institution. But the system leaves its victims with little choice.
Fortunately they can take legal action on a No Win No Fee basis so the costs are not an issue.
For more information, contact Coles Miller Partner David Simpson, head of the firm’s Clinical Negligence Department, on 01202 355695.