Compensation paid over stillbirth

Monday 14 February 2011 16:15 GMT

An NHS Trust has paid out a five-figure compensation settlement to a couple whose son was stillborn following a series of "basic errors" in ante-natal care.

Lawyers acting on behalf of Katie and Robert Page said they had received the undisclosed out-of-court payment after the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust accepted liability over the death of their son, Harry.

Mr and Mrs Page, from Droitwich, Worcestershire, have also received an apology from the Worcestershire Royal Hospital, where Harry was delivered stillborn on October 9, 2009 despite being identified as a high-risk pregnancy.

Medical negligence expert Guy Forster, who represented the couple, claimed mistakes in Mrs Page's care, including a decision to postpone the induction of labour, mirrored other cases of poor maternity care at the hospital.

Mr Forster, from Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, said: "To lose a baby is upsetting enough but to discover that was it not for entirely avoidable, basic errors Harry would have survived has been very difficult for Katie and Robert to cope with.

"Perhaps more worrying still is that there were not only errors by individuals, but deep-rooted system failures including organisational problems and staffing issues."

The lawyer added: "Whilst the Trust appears to have taken this incident seriously, I am particularly concerned that the same basic errors in maternity care appear to be repeated time after time here at this particular Trust.

"I have represented several families who have suffered the unimaginable heartbreak of either a stillbirth or having their baby born with catastrophic permanent injuries and the common link these cases share is a delay in receiving basic and appropriate obstetric care."

In a statement, Helen Blanchard, director of nursing and midwifery for the Trust, said: "Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust would like to offer their sincere apologies once again to the family.

"The Trust has accepted responsibility in this tragic case."

Following the stillbirth, processes within maternity services had been extensively reviewed, Mr Blanchard noted, prompting changes to improve the continuity of record-keeping and advice given to patients.

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