Medical Mistake Claims - Simpson Millar LLP

Fresh Concerns Over Bristol Royal Infirmary 20 Years On

Author: Neil Fearn  Bullet  Dated: 19/02/2014

Over 20 years on from the original Bristol Royal Infirmary scandal, fresh concerns have arisen about the care babies and young children receive before and following heart surgery. Anxious parents are claiming that the hospital is still in denial about what happened to children 20 years ago, and this is having an impact on the current care given.

High Death Rates Spark Inquiry

NHS chief Sir Bruce Keogh has ordered a major restructuring of how parents are treated after their child has suffered serious harm or died following heart surgery. He has already asked Sir Ian Kennedy, who led the original inquiry into Bristol Royal Infirmary in the 90's, to investigate the new claims. Commenting on the situation Sir Bruce said, " We do not have the mechanisms in place for supporting parents when things go wrong and we need to have them."

Prior to the inquiry in the 1990's, death rates for babies in Bristol were much higher than the rest of the country. A whistle blower brought this information to the public at large, which instigated a public inquiry. This inquiry led to the medical director and chief surgeon of the hospital being struck off. Following this, the Bristol Royal infirmary reopened and became a regional centre for paediatric heart surgery.

Families Taking Action Against the Trust

Recent high profile cases have been heard by Avon and Somerset coroner Maria Voisin, concerning children who survived the initial operation but were failed by the paediatric heart unit responsible for their aftercare.

Following these concerns, Sir Bruce met with some of the families of those affected on Friday the 14th of February, 2014 for an emotional 3-hour meeting. They discussed their concerns over the hospital and voiced how they believed previous recommendations made by Sir Ian Kennedy have not been carried out. They believe that the management of the hospital are in denial about their failings, putting other children at risk. Sir Bruce hopes to ensure that standards of excellence are brought back to the hospital.

It is believed that around 10 families are taking legal action against the Trust, including 2 whose children died at the hospital . They made shocking revelations about how there were so few nurses providing care, that the parents were forced to clean up vomit, monitor oxygen levels and administer medicine themselves.


Nursing Times - Independent review to be held into Bristol paediatric cardiac unit - 17/2/14

The Telegraph - Families’ plea on Bristol heart scandal prompts action by NHS chief - 18/2/14

The Telegraph - Bristol Children's Hospital 'still in denial' about deaths, say parents - 18/2/14

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