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October 11th 2018

Birth Negligence

Baby Loss Awareness Week: Bereavement and the need for answers

Helena Wood

Helena Wood

Legal Executive, Clinical Negligence

Baby Loss Awareness Week: Bereavement and the need for answers

Baby Loss Awareness Week is an initiative and campaign our team at Hudgell Solicitors passionately supports each year.

Baby Loss Awareness Week is an initiative and campaign our team at Hudgell Solicitors passionately supports each year.

Led by organisations providing vital support to people across the UK affected by pregnancy loss or the death of a baby, the week calls for improvements in research, care and policy around bereavement support.

At the same time, it highlights the many excellent services – mainly led by charity and volunteer run organisations – which are currently available for anyone affected by the death of a baby at any stage.

Importantly, the week also encourages bereaved parents, their families and friends, to unite to commemorate the lives of babies who died during pregnancy, at birth, or in infancy.

Our specialist medical negligence team here at Hudgell Solicitors support many families who suffer this most tragic of experiences in their lives, and it an area of work myself and my colleagues are hugely passionate about.

The heartache of losing a baby is impossible to imagine, unless it is something you have experienced yourself.

That is why, as part of Baby Loss Awareness Week, families and parents are urged to ‘break the silence’ and share their stories with one another.

It can help many to understand they are not alone, and that sadly, thousands of others each year find themselves in the same situation.

Parents often left with many unanswered questions over death of their baby

Our specialist teams are contacted by many parents who are struggling to understand why they have lost their baby, and are questioning why things went wrong for them.

Many question themselves, or question the care and support they received.

Any sense of unanswered in relation to one of the most traumatic events in their lives can hang over bereaved parents, and is often the reason people turn to us to legal support.

I passionately believe that our role can truly help parents and families find some sense of closure from the most difficult of times. Although, of course, our involvement can never change the outcome, it can provide clarity in a fog of confusion.

Often, bereaved parents tell us they have little understanding of why their lost their baby, whether anything could have been done differently to avoid such a tragic outcome, and whether anything should have been done differently.

The days after losing a baby are often a haze, a time of shock and heartache, and not a time when questions freely come to mind. Bereaved parents mainly focus in the days after on coping with what has happened to them.

Often it is only in the days and weeks after, when at home without their baby, that more questions start to come to mind.

Given all those who lose a baby go through, they are the hardest of questions to ask of health professionals, at the most difficult time in life.

That is why I see it as our role to ensure those questions are asked. We can help parents get the answers they need.

Parents need clarity to reach a position where they can grieve and commemorate

In many cases admissions are made by hospitals and doctors that errors by medical staff were contributory factors to the loss of a baby’s life.

Equally, we often establish that a baby’s death could not have been prevented with any different care or a different approach, and that it was sadly completely unavoidable.

There is never an ideal answer for any parent, because, as I mentioned earlier, we cannot turn back the clock.

However, many of the parents I have supported have thanked me for providing answers, answers which give them a greater understanding of what happened, and why they won’t see their baby grow up.

For many, those answers are key to being able to find some form of closure, and to focus on remembering their babies and commemorating their lives on special occasions such as anniversaries, Christmas, and of course during events such as Baby Loss Awareness Week.

Our teams in Hull, Leeds, London and Manchester have been wearing the blue and pink pin badge throughout this week to raise awareness of baby loss, and on Friday we’ll be raising funds by our staff donating to wear pink and blue for the day.

At 7pm on Friday families across the world will be lighting candles and leaving them burning for at least an hour to remember all babies that have died too soon. We hope each and every person lighting a candle is able to do so knowing where they can find the support they need.

Details for the organisations supporting Baby Loss Awareness Week, and providing a wide range of support services, can be found here.

Hudgell Solicitors is able to put clients in contact with charities and organisations that offer bereavement support and works closely with stillbirth and neonatal death charity, Sands.

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