Tag Archives: babies

‘Toxic’ culture led to dozens of deaths – of mothers and babies – at NHS trust

Mothers and babies died due to a “toxic” culture at an English NHS trust – according to a leaked report on what is being described as the largest maternity scandal in NHS history.

It seems substandard care at the Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust not only led to deaths but also caused permanent disability for some children.

Clinical errors were compounded by substandard follow-up investigations that failed to ensure lessons were learnt, while bereaved families were treated with “a distinct lack of kindness and respect”.

The report details clinical malpractice over nearly 40 years that led to the deaths of at least 42 babies and three mothers.

More than 50 children also suffered permanent brain damage after being deprived of oxygen during birth, and the investigation also identifed 47 other cases of substandard care.

More than 600 cases of clinical malpractice are now being examined, involving repeated failings by doctors, midwives and hospital bosses.

As hundreds of cases have yet to be checked, the list of casualties is likely to grow.

The leaked report identifies:

  • A long-term lack of informed consent for mothers choosing to deliver their babies in midwifery-led units – where risks can be higher if problems occur – which “continues to the present day”
  • A long-term lack of transparency, honesty and communication with families when things go wrong. This supported a culture that was “disrespectful” to families who had been “damaged” as a result
  • Failure to recognise serious incidents. Many families who had undergone horrific experiences were told they were the only ones and lessons would be learnt. The report said: “It is clear this is not correct”
  • A long-term failure to involve families in investigations that were often poor and described as “extremely brief” and “overly defensive of staff”
  • A lack of kindness and respect to parents and families with multiple examples of deceased babies given the wrong names in writing or referred to as “it”
  • Not sharing learning, meaning “repeated mistakes that are often similar from case to case”. Failure to learn was present from the earliest case of a neonatal death in 1979 to cases occurring at the end of 2017
  • A lack of support for families who have “experienced significant loss and tragedy”
  • A long-standing culture at the trust “that is toxic to improvement effort”

The new report is not the result of action by the NHS or the government, though.

It seems the scandal would have remained secret if not for the actions of a family the trust had mistreated.

The Stanton-Davies family had lost a baby daughter in 2009 after midwives failed to monitor her condition – among myriad other failures.

They had to fight for an inquest. Once it proved their daughter’s fate had been avoidable, the family challenged the NHS to re-examine its investigation of the circumstances of the child’s death.

That review revealed systemic failings which enabled the family, with the parents of a second baby, to persuade then-Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to order an investigation in 2017.

The scale of this scandal is huge – and can only increase.

At this point, This Writer can only echo the words of mother Rhiannon Davies, whose determination to find out why her daughter died has taken matters this far:

“How has this been tolerated for so long? It is horrific.”

Source: NHS Trust’s ‘toxic’ culture led to mother and baby deaths | Central – ITV News

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Were MPs right to approve three-person babies?

150203threepersonbabies

MPs have voted in favour of the creation of babies with DNA from two women and one man.

The technique would be used to prevent mitochondrial disease, which may lead to brain damage, muscle wasting, heart failure and blindness.

It uses a modified version of IVF to combine the DNA of the two parents with the healthy mitochondria of a donor woman.

This results in babies with 0.1% of their DNA from the second woman and is a permanent change that would be passed down through the generations.

MPs were given a free vote, because this was a matter of conscience rather than political allegiance, and supported the introduction of the technique by 328 votes in favour, with 128 against, taking into account support from British Nobel Prize-winning scientists and 40 leading scientists from 14 countries.

150203threepersonbabies2

However, the Catholic and Anglican Churches in England said the idea was not safe or ethical, not least because it involved the destruction of embryos.

This writer has doubts about it, too. Knee-jerk reaction was that this is eugenics – genetically engineering “better” human beings. But why should that be a bad thing if it doesn’t involve the deaths of people who were arbitrarily deemed inferior (as was the case with the Nazis)?

It is also interfering with nature – and do we really know what the results are going to be? There are unanswered questions.

That being said, if the technique exists, does anybody have the right to stop another person from using it – if the alternative is to have a child with disabilities and the attendant implications on quality-of-life?

Let’s have a poll.

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Shame of British press as private health’s failure is blamed on the NHS

drips

Daily Telegraph headline this morning: “15 babies poisoned by NHS drips”.

Terrifying – and entirely inaccurate.

Oh, 15 babies were poisoned by drips – and one has sadly died as a result – but the contamination is believed to have come from liquid feed manufactured by a private, London-based health company called ITH Pharma Ltd, and not from any equipment provided by the National Health Service.

Lazy reporting – or part of an ongoing campaign against the NHS by the privatisation-crazy right-wing press?

If the latter, it clearly backfired – as the public backlash against the story demonstrates.

Look at the ‘Comment’ column following the article. ‘Cochranereturns’ wrote: “Another headline from the DT trying to pin blame on the NHS when the fault lies outside the organisation. I complained to the Press Complaints Commission under clause one of their charter about the following headline last week: “NHS breaks promises after staff torture patients at Winterbourne View”: the PCC responded within 24 hours (and the DT removed the link I’d complained about). I suggest people do the same about this article.”

‘Cydee’: “Bad reporting.”

‘Mynydd’: “This is the result the right wing media, and Mr Cameron/Hunt’s philosophy that private companies through competition will always produce the cheapest product, quality, and quality control is of secondary importance.”

‘Percypottamus’ warns: “Much more blatantly Tory-inspired anti-NHS propaganda like this and I will be cancelling my subscription.” Good for you, Sir!

‘Ostercy’: “Odd how you try to blame the NHS for this and not private medicine.”

‘NitroFan’ raised another aspect of the ongoing NHS saga – the too-close relationship between private health firms and the MPs they sponsor, and to whose parties they donate. Or, as ‘NitroFan’ put it: “I would be extremely interested (doubt I am alone) to know who owns ITH Pharma Ltd and the basis on which their contract was awarded! And who awarded it!”

Wouldn’t we all?

On the Vox Political Facebook page, coverage of the story was universally condemned as well. “As usual blame socialised medicine and not the private company contracted to provide the service (devices) in the first place,” commented ‘The Bullingdon Club’.

Sean Young picked up on the obvious inconsistency in the way the story was presented: “Clearly the way to stop such terrible deaths caused by the incompetence of a private company is to increase privatisation!” Riiiiight…

And that’s just the reaction to the story in the Daily Telegraph. The image at the top of this article presents our favourite Angry Yorkshireman’s opinion of the Murdoch Media version of these events.

It won’t change the way these ignorant right-wingers try to influence your thinking but it is encouraging to see that the once-impressionable British public is having none of it.

The worm – it appears – has turned.

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