Following our post earlier this week focusing on needless hospital deaths, there have since been reports in the press regarding two recent cases where women have died needlessly due to poor maternity care.
A recent letter from the medical director and nurse director at the Hull & East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Women’s & Children’s Hospital sent to all maternity staff criticised the care provided to the two women and admitted that the deaths may have been avoidable.
The story has been published in the Hull Daily Mail (19 July 2012) http://www.thisishullandeastriding.co.uk/Hull-mums-deaths-avoided-better-healthcare/story-16559248-detail/story.html
The letter highlights the failings in the care provided and asks the health workers, including midwives, to question whether they are in the right job. The letter went so far as to ask all staff whether they are confident that they do all they possibly can to ensure patient safety.
Both ladies were in their mid 30s. One died of Group A Streptococcal infection days after suffering a miscarriage and the other of a blood clot two weeks after giving birth.
Adding to the sadness of these unnecessary deaths is the news that lessons from a previous death in 2010 have not been learnt. It is reported that a teaching programme had been put in place to address concerns following the death in 2010 but the teaching had not been applied in practice.
The husbands of both women are rightfully asking questions about the treatment of their loved one and want answers as to what should have been done differently to prevent their untimely deaths.
We believe that the safety of patients in Hospitals should be the number one priority of staff involved in each and every patient’s care. The medical director also touched on this and stated that in his view, when a hospital falls short of the best possible care, each member of the team caring for that patient should question their own individual role.
We have experience of cases of this nature, which not only leave children without their mother and a husband without his wife, but also leave the financial worry and stress that a loss of income can bring to a grieving family.
We regularly see Serious Untoward Incident Reports prepared by hospitals when an incident has occurred that could have been avoided. We are also regularly told that “lessons have been learned” and “training will be implemented” but given recent press reports are these lessons enough and how regularly and closely are the members of staff concerned monitored and retrained?
In our view, every single unnecessary death in a hospital is one too many and we feel an enquiry into the standard of care and these failings is needed to ensure tragic deaths like this can be prevented in the future.