Sunday 8 December 2019
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The News - 19 days ago

Babies, mothers died amid ?toxic? culture at NHS Trust

LONDON: Babies and mothers died amid major failings at a hospital trust in what is likely to be the NHS s worst ever maternity scandal.A report leaked to The Independent shows that a toxic culture stretching back 40 years was in place when babies and mothers suffered avoidable death. Children were also left with permanent disability amid substandard care at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.Staff at the trust routinely dismissed parents concerns, were unkind, got dead babies names wrong and, in one instance, referred to a baby who died as it . In another case, parents were not told their baby s body had arrived back from the post-mortem examination, and it was left to decompose so badly that the family never got to say a final goodbye.The interim update report also seen by the PA news agency comes from an independent inquiry ordered by the government in July 2017. The study warns that, even to the present day, lessons are not being learned and staff at the trust are uncommunicative with families. It also points to an inadequate review carried out by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) in 2017 and the misplaced optimism of the regulator in charge in 2007.The inquiry, which is being led by maternity expert Donna Ockenden, was launched by former health secretary Jeremy Hunt. Its initial scope was to examine 23 cases but this has now grown to more than 270 covering the period 1979 to the present day.The cases include 22 stillbirths, three deaths during pregnancy, 17 deaths of babies after birth, three deaths of mothers, 47 cases of substandard care and 51 cases of cerebral palsy or brain damage.The interim report written by Ms Ockenden details the pain suffered by the families.It points to: Babies left brain-damaged because staff failed to realise or act upon signs that labour was going wrong. A failure to adequately monitor heartbeats during labour or assess risks during pregnancy, resulting in the deaths of some children. Babies left brain-damaged from group B strep or meningitis that can often be treated by antibiotics.A baby whose death from group B strep could have been prevented after its parents contacted the trust on several occasions worried about their newborn baby. Many families struggling to get answers from the trust around very serious clinical incidents for many years and continuing to the present day.One father whose only feedback following his daughter s death was when he bumped into a hospital employee in Asda. One parent reporting a closed culture at the trust over hospital fears of being sued.Families who told how the trust made mistakes with their baby s name and on occasions referred to a deceased baby as it . Multiple families where deceased babies are given the wrong names by the trust - frequently in writing .One family who was told they would have to leave if they did not keep the noise down when they were upset following the death of their baby. One baby girl s shawl was lost by staff after her death even though her mother had wanted to bury her in it.The inquiry was launched following the efforts of Rhiannon and Richard Stanton Davies, whose daughter Kate died shortly after birth in 2009, and Kayleigh and Colin Griffiths, whose daughter Pippa died shortly after birth in 2016.

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