Hundreds of families are coming forward after a report from an investigation for NHS Improvement was leaked outlining the failings of the maternity ward from 1979 until present at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust. The said failings resulted in a tragic amount of avoidable deaths and babies being born with catastrophic birth-related injuries. This is undoubtedly the largest maternity scandal faced by the Trust in its history.
Cerebral palsy (CP) is estimated to affect around 8,000-10,000 children every year. CP is a brain-related injury and is the most common injury which is related to birth trauma. CP can be caused by maternal infections, oxygen deprivation, infant stroke and infant infection. In many cases CP is avoidable by preventive and corrective measures including proper monitoring when there are signs of foetal distress, planning an emergency C section and proper treatment of a prolapsed umbilical cord.
There are many other injuries which can occur as a result of negligent treatment/delivery such as those resulting from oxygen deprivation (hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy) and a variety of physical injuries such as injuries to the brachial plexus, Erb's palsy, Klumpke’s palsy and shoulder dystocia. Negligent treatment can also lead to birth injuries related to infections or developed through pregnancies.
The leaked report shows that unfortunately, the trust of many expectant mothers was terribly misplaced at the expense of either losing their baby, or their baby being born with an avoidable catastrophic injury.
Whilst the fact that this is now being investigated provides some reassurance that such tragedies may not happen in the future it stops short of providing assistance to those already affected by this.
It is encouraging to see families coming forward and bringing a claim as it presents them with the opportunity to be compensated for the harm caused. Most importantly, however, for the cases where the child is left with life-changing disabilities, it presents an opportunity for the child to receive high-quality rehabilitation, care provision for the future, appropriate accommodation and aids and equipment to improve their quality of life.
All steps should be taken to ensure that such children are assisted in gaining as much independence as possible in their adult life. This has the effect of relieving their families from the emotional and financial encumbrance that such rehabilitation in the private sector presents. It also lessens their reliance on benefits which in most cases is not adequate to fund the required rehabilitation and provisions for the future.
At Bell Lax, we have specialists dealing with legal claims following life-changing injuries such as the above, ensuring fair and adequate compensation is obtained which will meet the future life needs of the injured child. Call us today on 0121 355 0011 for a free consultation if you think we may be able to help you and your family.