Every year thousands of people in the UK are affected by the death of a baby or experience pregnancy loss. In 2016 there were 3,112 stillbirths in total (babies who died after 24 weeks of pregnancy or before/during birth).
That’s around nine babies stillborn every day. Around one-third of stillbirths happen after 37 weeks of pregnancy and stillbirths account for more than half of the deaths of infants under one year in the UK. A neonatal death happens in the first 28 days after birth.
Supporting Baby Loss Awareness Week
Hudgell Solicitors supports the annual Baby Loss Awareness Week, helping to raise awareness that baby death is a tragic issue that affects thousands of families in the UK alone each year.
The week takes place from 9 to 15 October every year and provides an opportunity for parents, their families and friends to acknowledge and remember their precious babies who sadly died.
It also calls for tangible improvements in research, care and policy around bereavement support whilst highlighting the support and services available for anyone affected by the death of a baby at any stage.
Over 60 charities across the UK collaborate during the week, in which bereaved parents, their families and friends, unite with each other and others across the world to commemorate the lives of babies.
Hudgell Solicitors and The Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society (Sands)
Sands is the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, operating throughout the UK to provide support to anyone affected by the death of a baby. It works to improve the care bereaved parents receive, and promotes research to help reduce the loss of babies’ lives.
It is vital that good bereavement care is offered to anyone who has lost a baby before, during, or after birth, however, the standard of care in the UK varies widely between regions. Bereavement care training is mandatory in under half of NHS Trusts and Health Boards. At the last count, one in three Trusts and Health Boards did not have a dedicated bereavement room in each maternity unit they cover.
As a result, many parents do not receive good quality, or indeed not any, bereavement support around pregnancy or baby loss. The quality and consistency of care can vary depending on the circumstances of baby loss, where parents live, and even on who may be on shift that day.
Together with the other charities participating in Baby Loss Awareness Week, Sands believes there should be high quality bereavement support services and care available for people wherever they live in the UK.
Everyone should have the chance to have the support they need, when they need it, for as long as they need it.
Hudgell Solicitors became involved with Sands as we too feel strongly about better bereavement care for people affected by pregnancy and baby loss.
At Hudgell Solicitors we are committed to supporting Sands and its vision for a world where fewer babies die and every bereaved family gets the care and support they need for as long as they need it.
By 2020, the aim is to reduce the number of babies dying by at least 20%, and fund research to better understand what causes these deaths.
We’ll continue raising awareness for Sands by sharing key findings about baby loss and their work to reduce the number of babies dying, and by using our legal knowledge and expertise to question and challenge health care where we feel mistakes have been made.
Our partnership also means that we can provide the best possible support service to our clients who have lost a precious baby through these most difficult times.
We are proud to be providing ongoing support to our local Sands volunteers who provide vital support services for bereaved families in the areas we reside.
“We see many parents who have concerns that something went wrong, but have initially felt unable to question their care – and perhaps initially didn’t want to, as they simply wanted to grieve.
“However, it is often the case that in the weeks and months that pass, parents feel uneasy at the explanations provided over want went wrong, and when they begin to ask questions, don’t feel they get the answers they need and deserve.
“We find people then turn to us for help at these most difficult times. Often parents who have a child stillborn can’t begin to move on in any way until they have answers. When answers are found it is not always easy, but it does often help bring closure.
“It can be a difficult moment when we secure independent medical evidence which demonstrates that medical errors were at fault for a baby’s death. At that point a parent faces the reality that their baby should still be with them, and could be so had errors not been made.”