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Babies' deaths could have been prevented

View profile for Judith Thomas-Whittingham
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Around 94 babies died in the West Midlands during 2008 and 2009. Research has shown that of those deaths, an estimated 35 baby deaths could have been prevented if the maternity care provided was better.
In a report conducted by an independent panel for the West Midlands Perinatal Institute, it was suggested that the midwives within the region were overworked and were rushing examinations, resulting in them missing vital signs during pregnancy.
The report states that this led to several failures to acknowledge the risks to babies in several circumstances and subsequently the quality of the care given to the pregnant women.
It stated that approximately every one in 100 babies died either at birth or the week after birth due to this unsatisfactory care.
A survey conducted by the Institute confirmed this, showing that midwives were dealing with 50% more cases than the recommended number.
It was also found that the maternity staff had an “apparent lack of attention to detail” which included them failing to act and warn the pregnant women when they discovered potential risks to the foetus.
The director of the West Midlands Perinatal Institute said that good quality care was not given and this was because, as the report demonstrates, the maternity services were overstretched.
The Department of Health has acknowledged the need for an improvement in maternity care and has claimed that it is preparing plans to “reduce preventable deaths”. It quoted that, "it is important that these are implemented and make a real difference to maternity services in the region”. This is obviously a step towards safeguarding the lives of unborn children, which is a little reassuring for expecting parents, but sadly too late for those already grieving.
It is hoped that this report will emphasise what needs to be done so that a valuable lesson is learnt and further deaths can be avoided.
If you believe that you have received treatment which was below a reasonable standard then we have a dedicated team of clinical negligence solicitors who would be happy to help you. You can call us now on 01616 966 229.
By clinical negligence specialist, Laura Hannah