Baby death inquest update: Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch report criticises ‘ineffective communication’ at Derriford hospital in Plymouth.

Oliver Thorne, the lawyer who represented the parents of baby Giles Cooper-Hall at the inquest into his death, has welcomed the findings of a new report.

Giles died 16 hours after he was born a consequence of an interrupted supply of oxygen to the brain. The report into his death has now found that Derriford Hospital in Plymouth missed several opportunities to save his life.

The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch report was particularly critical of what it termed, “Ineffective communication during multiple handovers”.

The University Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust extended its condolences to the baby’s parents, assuring them that all safety recommendations would be implemented. 

They had concerns about the care while in the delivery suite. These included worries about inexperienced healthcare staff, poor communication, and a general atmosphere of “fluster and panic”.

Initially the parents gained the impression that the tragedy had occurred in the last 10 minutes of labour. However the HSIB report revealed that issues arose over a much longer timeframe, with a series of mistakes, delays and missed opportunities.

Baby death inquest lawyer Oliver, who campaigns for improved maternity care, echoed the parents’ concerns, describing the baby’s sad death as “completely avoidable”.

Oliver specialises in inquests following deaths in hospital, and you can read about another baby death inquest that Oliver dealt with here.

Five safety recommendations were made to Derriford Hospital in the HSIB report. Going forward it was suggested that healthcare staff undertake a risk assessment at every point of care. It was also recommended that the NHS Trust should ensure that its staff know to declare an emergency if a baby’s heart rate is slow, or cannot be detected.

The Trust said it wanted to offer people reassurance that they would implement all the report’s safety recommendations.

If you require expert guidance from baby inquest lawyer Oliver Thorne then contact us on 0333 888 0436 or send him an email at [email protected]

Baby death inquest