In 2014/15, around 180 claims were brought by grieving parents against NHS maternity units, for errors made during labour. Official figures released for 2016/17, now show that this figure has increased by 23%. But what is the reason for the rise?
The social pressure for Mothers in the UK to have a ‘normal birth’ i.e. a natural birth, with very little medical intervention has increased, but surely this would be immaterial if there was an increased risk of endangering the baby’s life? The increase of nearly a quarter, represents birth-injury cases which have resulted in lifetime disability of the child.
Safety experts say that the increased obsession in modern society to have a ‘normal birth’, where doctors are kept out of the delivery room, even when their assistance is required, is one of the contributing factors responsible for the rise. Other factors, such as deficiencies in staffing numbers and reduced quality of maternity wards is also attributable.
In 2015, more than 1,000 births which had resulted in catastrophic brain-injury, stillbirth or death of the child, were studied by The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. The College found that in more than 75% of these cases, if another method of action had been taken then the baby may have been saved from harm and/or survived.
The Chief Executive for the safety charity Action against Medical Accidents has agreed that more needs to be done to move away from this societal yearning for a ‘normal birth’. It can be agreed that other medical institutions have recognised this need for change, including the Royal College of Midwives, who have abandoned the term ‘normal birth’ after years of its use.
If nothing is done, projected compensation awards could exceed £20 million per child to cover the cost of 24-hour care for the foreseeable future of the child’s life.
Inez Brown, Partner and Head of Clinical Negligence at the Medical Accident Group says, “The rise in the number of birth-injury cases is shocking. In today’s modern society, you would expect to see a decline in maternity claims, with the increasing advanced technology and equipment available. If individuals are contributing to this increase, by refusing medical intervention, even when it is required, then a shift in society’s perspective and amongst the medical profession is crucial. The safety of the mother and the child should always be paramount, regardless of any ideology an individual may perceive as being the ‘perfect birth’. Maternity units should have procedures in place to safeguard the mother and baby and ensure that all staff members receive regular training on the same”.
As an experienced Worcester and Birmingham based firm, we have managed to secure an award of compensation for many parents on behalf of their children, who have suffered injuries during birth as a result of midwifery and/or doctor negligence. If you have suffered from poor treatment, Medical Accident Group can help. We have a team of dedicated clinical negligence solicitors, with over 30 years’ experience, who will guide you through the process of making a claim. If you believe you have a claim, call the team now on 0800 050 1668 or email us at email@example.com