Medical Mistake Claims - Simpson Millar LLP

Morecambe Bay Investigation Yields "Serious and Shocking" Results

Author: Neil Fearn  Bullet  Dated: 03/03/2015

Results from a report commissioned by Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt into the deaths of up to 30 new-born babies and mothers at Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust have been released today.

Baby Scan

The report has discovered "serious and shocking" failures in medical care resulting in the unnecessary deaths of 11 babies and one mother at the Furness General Hospital in Barrow, Cumbria.

Missed Opportunities to Avoid Incidents

Chairman of the Investigation, Dr Bill Kirkup reported that there was a 'disturbing catalogue of missed opportunities'. There were 20 circumstances of significant failures in care whereby different action would have prevented the deaths.

There were also a number of missed opportunities in bringing the faults to light sooner. Failures in care began in 2004 and only came to light in 2011, despite 5 major incidents taking place in 2008.

The care given to one newborn at the hospital has been highly criticised in the report, which notes that the midwives repeatedly failed to notice and treat an infection. The cause of death had also been noted to be of natural causes by the coroner. Here there were significant failures in care, a loss of an important care chart, and dysfunctional relationships between the staff.

Main Findings

  • "Dysfunctional" maternity unit where "essential knowledge was lacking"
  • Poor relationships with between members of staff
  • "Overzealous pursuit of natural childbirth" and failures in risk assessment leading to compromised care
  • "Grossly deficient" responses to serious incidents and the failure to investigate incidents thoroughly
  • Producing more mucus or phlegm than usual

Laura Bauress, a Medical Negligence Solicitor based in Liverpool, comments, "as expected, the report has shown a 'turf war' between midwives and doctors with many midwives failing to alert doctors to patient complications."

We are glad to see that these events have come to light and hope they may help avoid future failures in medical care.

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