01482 778 463
Client Focussed
No Win No Fee
Specialist Legal Teams
Hudgell Solicitors™ | Latest News | Legal support can help parents of stillborn babies find answers with law not requiring coroners’ inquests

Legal support can help parents of stillborn babies find answers with law not requiring coroners’ inquests



A major part of my work as a specialist in handling damages cases relating to medical negligence during pregnancy and birth is ensuring errors made in hospitals across England and Wales are fully investigated.

On many occasion, parents have turned to our team at Hudgell Solicitors as their baby has been born with serious life-changing injuries, but they don’t understand why.

Parents have a feeling that they have not been told all the facts and that something, at some stage, went badly wrong.

It is in cases such as this that experienced lawyers can not only ask relevant questions, but can ensure all care provided is examined in great detail.

Patient records can be gathered and sent to specialists in the same medical field for their independent opinion, helping to build a clear picture of the care provided, and whether negligence played a part in the injuries suffered.

Such errors are certainly not always readily admitted by hospital trusts without independent examination. These errors prove expensive, as compensation settlements can quite rightly reach millions on pounds, given they often cover a life-time of care and support.

Crucially, alongside the vital financial and physical support for those we represent, our involvement also ensures lessons are learned. Legal cases often lead to new protocols being introduced to prevent the same mistakes being made again.

Detailed investigations are also automatically triggered when there is any suggestion of medical errors possibly contributing to the death of a patient, with coroners inquests held and full internal investigations conducted by health trusts.

Law in England and Wales does not require coroners’ inquests into stillborn babies

One situation where a death may not automatically trigger the same level of investigation is when a baby is stillborn.

This is because under the current law, coroners in England and Wales are unable to investigate a still birth (a baby born dead after 24 weeks of pregnancy) as they are not considered to be a ‘deceased person’.

It has led to the parents of a baby girl who was stillborn recently calling for change in law.

Their baby girl was born dead after a five-day labour last year, and following legal action the hospital has “apologised unreservedly” for shortcomings in care.

External investigations concluded there had been a number of failings, and that with more active monitoring during labour there may have been opportunities to identify earlier signs of distress and deterioration, and that intervention might have altered the outcome.

The parents have questioned whether these errors would ever have been uncovered had they not launched legal action and are calling for a full inquiry to investigate other baby deaths at the same Trust, looking into the standard of investigations.

It comes as the NHS says that incidents such as deaths in childbirth should be declared as Serious Untoward Incidents (SUIs) within 72 hours of the event, and that a full investigation report should be published 60 days from the event.

However, the family in this case say no SUI was launched until they complained to the hospital, and that it was 179 days before an SUI was launched.

Certainly, whilst Trusts will conduct their own reviews, there is a risk that some errors will slip through the net.

In Northern Ireland, the law states that a coroner ‘can carry out an inquest into the death of a stillborn child that had been capable of being born alive’ – a law which seems sensible and appropriate.

Legal investigations often uncover failings in medical care which have not been admitted

We often find internal investigations do not delve deep enough into the care provided, and in particular do not fully explore other potential outcomes had there been different treatment.

Parents are often in a difficult place at such challenging times in their lives also, so they find it difficult to question hospital trusts and managers.

They do have the right though to make a formal complaint and to seek legal advice and redress.

By instructing lawyers, it crucially ensures any possible failings in care be fully examined by independently recognised specialists in the same medical field.

Medical professionals are also made accountable for their actions, and the loss of one life could provide the valuable lesson needed to prevent another.

That should never be forgotten.

No Comments

Leave a Reply

*Required

The Author

author image

Chris Moore

Senior Solicitor and Joint Head of Clinical Negligence

cjm@hudgellsolicitors.co.uk

Request a callback

Request A Callback

I am an existing client.










Or call us FREE on:

01482 778 463


trust pilottrustpilot startrustpilot startrustpilot startrustpilot startrustpilot star

The data you submit will only be used by Hudgell Solicitors and only for the purpose of dealing with your enquiry.
See full privacy policy.

Looking to see if you're eligible?

Get in touch for free legal advice

0808 159 7699

Call today to speak to an expert

OR
Start your claim

What Our Clients Think

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Great customer service

"Great customer service Tasmin was very helpful Updated me on a regular basis Thanks for… "

Mr D Scannell

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Caroline was great in handling my case

"Caroline was great in handling my case, very informative and always kept me up to… "

Mr Richard Brook

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Dispute with EasyJet

"Although Hudgell offices were not local to us, there was no need for concern, as… "

Glyn

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Always on the ball

"Always on the ball! Great at what they do, very professional and fast with a… "

CHRISTOPHER CURTIS

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Excellent service

"Excellent service. Very happy with result. Thank you."

Miss Erika Panakova

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Was an easy process and the caseworker…

"Was an easy process and the caseworker was very informative and very knowledgeable on my… "

Rachel Fee

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Lovely business to deal with

"Lovely business to deal with. Would recommend to anyone."

Mrs Kelly Byrnes

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Great communication

"Great communication! My solicitor was lovely to deal with, open and listened to me."

Sue Ockendon

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Very happy with how they managed my…

"Very happy with how they managed my claim. I would recommend them."

Mr Steve Roberts

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Very helpful and truly understanding in…

"Very helpful and truly understanding in a very sensitive case would highly recommend to anyone"

Miss Sarah Morris

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Friendly

"Friendly, supportive and professional, couldn't ask for more."

Mr Adrian Fisher

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

A first class service with a heart too

"I never had claimed before and was quite apprehensive about dealing with claims solicitors as… "

M Sheikh

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

They made me feel that I wouldn’t be on…

"They made me feel that I wouldn’t be on my own after my experience. They… "

Mrs Melinda Diane Tovey

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

The service was excellent and Lauren…

"The service was excellent and Lauren Cartwright kept me well informed and gave good advice… "

Mr Roger Harrison

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Recommended company

"Excellent service, fully recommended. Efficient communication and reliable."

Mr R Taylor

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Hudgell took over my road traffic case…

"Hudgell took over my road traffic case from a different solicitors and successfully negotiated a… "

Mr JSW

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Hudgell Solicitors made my personal…

"Hudgell Solicitors made my personal injury claim so easy, they got me the treatment i… "

Mr Nick Todd

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

I have never used solicitors before

"I have never used solicitors before, my dealings with Hudgell have been excellent I have… "

David Varley

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

Very helpful

"Very helpful"

Ethan Ferguson

trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star trustpilot-star

First Class service

"Hudgell Solicitors are currently working on my case and I must say so far the… "

Emma Jeeves

Rated 9.4 out of 10 based on 455 reviews

Powered by Trustpilot

Our offices

London

55 Fleet Street
EC4Y 1JU

VIEW DETAILS

Hull

No 2 @ The Dock
46 Humber Street
HU1 1TU

VIEW DETAILS

Leeds

10 Park Place
Leeds
LS1 2RU

VIEW DETAILS

Manchester

1 St Peter’s Square
Manchester
M2 3AE

 

VIEW DETAILS

© 2018 Hudgell Solicitors®. All Rights Reserved.

Hudgell Solicitors is a trading name of Neil Hudgell Limited | Director Dr. Neil Hudgell MA LLB (Hons) LLD | Registered in England No. 7078429 | Authorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority | SRA No. 521372 | VAT Registration No. 254 7802 90