East Kent baby deaths: Hospital made same fatal mistakes in 2012

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Maternity services at the East Kent NHS Trust are currently being reviewed after 15 babies have died in their care in recent years.

Dan and Alison Halligan, the parents of a boy who nearly died there in 2012, have said they are ‘heartbroken’ that lessons have not been learned since the traumatic birth of their son.

They struggled to hear about the death of Harry Richford, a baby who died at just a week old after a number of errors were made by staff at Margate’s Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital.

They said that hearing about this tragic incident had brought back stressful memories for them.

In 2012, they nearly lost one of their twins at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford. Their daughter, twin one, was born first with no complications, but their son, also called Harry, was delivered by emergency caesarean section after a failed attempt to deliver him with forceps.

They say that the decision to undergo a caesarean was a very late one, and the hospital was not prepared for the complications of delivering a twin this way. The consultant at their birth had not acted with urgency as she did not know that Harry was a twin.

Fortunately Harry survived, and East Kent Hospitals told the Halligans that in the future they would ensure to improve communication, employ more staff and set higher standards for obstetric care.

Yet the recent events at the hospitals suggests that changes have not been made, as the mistakes that were made in 2012 are eerily similar to the recent errors that have resulted in a number of avoidable baby deaths.

Amanda Cavanagh, a medical negligence specialist at Ashtons Legal, comments: “The parents of Harry Halligan are clearly, and understandably, devastated to learn of the repeated failures by East Kent Hospitals. The trust is clearly not learning from its mistakes, meaning that more and more babies have died completely unnecessarily. Failed promises to implement immediate change is not ok – how many more children need to die before clear and decisive action is taken?”


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