Medical Negligence

Fletchers Solicitors Advocates for Compassion in Maternity Care Compensation Process

April 3, 2024
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In a recent announcement from the East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust, families have been confronted with a distressing reality: they must prove liability for the harm caused to mothers and children before receiving compensation. This stark revelation comes in the wake of an independent investigation into poor maternity care at the Trust, which uncovered harrowing details of cases where better care could have made a critical difference. Despite findings suggesting potential survival for babies and improved outcomes for mothers, the path to compensation remains fraught with hurdles.

Trevor Ward, a specialist birth injury solicitor at Fletchers Solicitors, expressed concern over this approach. ” Whilst we accept that liability has to be proven in all these cases, we are saddened by this stance taken overall here. It is imperative to recognise the immense suffering these families have endured. This approach, demanding families to prove liability amidst their grief, only exacerbates their anguish. While we acknowledge the technicalities involved, we urge for a more compassionate approach to alleviate unnecessary distress and for an early realistic consideration of those cases the enquiry considered and to consider whether in reality some of the cases will be proven at much more expense to the NHS and whether this can in fact be avoided.”

The investigation, spearheaded by Bill Kirkup, meticulously examined each case, revealing heartbreaking statistics: 45 babies could have survived, while 12 infants who sustained brain damage could have had a different outcome. Additionally, 23 women who either died or suffered injuries might have experienced better outcomes with care adhering to nationally recognised standards. Despite these glaring findings, NHS Resolution, tasked with handling claims for clinical negligence, insists on families proving causation and a breach of duty of care before compensation is granted.

Dr. Kirkup, reflecting on the situation, expressed disappointment, saying, “East Kent families deserve compassion, especially after enduring such profound losses. The investigation provided a robust clinical assessment of each case, and it’s disheartening to see a lack of consideration for these findings in the compensation process.”

The anguish doesn’t end with the investigation. Families navigating the claims process face daunting challenges, including the need for extensive evidence gathering and psychological assessments. One bereaved parent aptly questioned, “Does the NHS accept the report’s findings or not?” The lack of clarity compounds the families’ anguish, adding further complexity to an already traumatic ordeal.

Despite assurances from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS Resolution about settling claims fairly and promptly, the reality for these families remains bleak. While DHSC emphasises the importance of considering each case on its merits, the process seems to lack the humanity needed to support grieving families adequately.

As Fletchers Solicitors stands in solidarity with these families, advocating for a more compassionate approach, we call for the defendants in these cases to prioritise empathy and understanding. The compensation processes should not inflict additional pain on those already grappling with profound loss and pain. It’s time for a fundamental shift towards a system that truly supports and uplifts families in their darkest hours.

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