Medical mistakes in the maternity ward: How to ensure safety within the UK’s maternity units
For expectant families entering the maternity ward at your local hospital should be an exciting time. However, the press is again highlighting the fact that some families leave the maternity ward devastated due to the failings of the NHS.
All medical interventions involve an element of risk and there is always potential for tragedy to occur. But according to the latest reports 7 out of 10 injuries or deaths caused to babies in hospital could be avoided.
So, why is this number is so high? Problems that have come to light include failure to properly monitor foetal heart rates and NHS staff not listening to expectant mothers who complain of horrendous pain during the later stages of their pregnancy.
A report provided by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists highlights various failures of maternity care, including staff members concentrating on just one element of care for the mother and therefore missing imperative observations which could potentially result in further harm being caused to both mother and baby. Other factors include breakdowns in communication on maternity units, and the fact that anaesthetists were not closely involved with problem labours. Furthermore, sufficient birthing plans had not been put in place in order to deal with pre-existing conditions of the mother to ensure that the health of both mother and baby were not affected during labour.
Of course, we must not underestimate the level of pressure that the NHS and its staff are under. However, many of the baby deaths and serious injuries that have occurred are due to NHS staff members not following guidelines or best practise.
Recent headlines have also revealed further flaws in maternity services within the Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Foundation. The Trust has told BBC News that they have been approached by 215 families who have made complaints about the maternity care provided. Significant errors have been questioned.
If your baby has suffered injury or sadly passed away and you believe this outcome could have been avoided but for medical mistakes in the maternity ward then call our Legal Helpline for a free case assessment. Our specialist clinical negligence team will review what happened and let you know how to go about making a legal claim. We will also be able to consider whether no win, no fee funding will be available. Call us on 0800 037 8020.