Cover-up denied over girl, 14, giving birth

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The Independent Online
A hospital reacted swiftly yesterday to disprove claims that its doctors had treated a 14-year-old girl during her pregnancy without telling her parents.

Ipswich Hospital found itself on the defensive after an inquest was told the girl's baby had been found dead in a canal three weeks after she secretly gave birth. But inquiries revealed that the hospital's first involvement with the child was when she was treated for a miscarriage, with her mother's consent.

The incident sparked off a fresh debate on patient confidentiality and parents' rights to be involved in their children's welfare. However, Brian Websdell, chief executive of Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, said he believed there had been a misunderstanding. "The girl first presented at the hospital with her mother on 16 May and a possible miscarriage was diagnosed," he said. "The child was kept in overnight and there was follow- up care, all with the mother's involvement."

At the inquest a statement from the parents said they had been "surprised" to learn that their daughter had been pregnant. "I think that could have been construed as meaning they were surprised to learn she had been having treatment. Well, she hadn't," Mr Websdell said.