Reducing death and injury in childbirth - lessons from the Each Baby Counts inquiry

A report published by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) examining the deaths and injuries of babies in the UK shows that 75% of babies studied could have had a more positive outcome if they had received better medical care.

The report aims to reduce the instance of stillbirth, early neonatal death or severe brain injury in babies by 50% by 2020. The RCOG included recommendations for improvements to medical care during labour, designed to help prevent avoidable injury or death.

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Contributing factors to neonatal deaths and injuries

The report identified numerous contributing factors to neonatal deaths, injuries and other serious incidents during labour. They include:

  • Failure by medical staff to recognise signs that a baby is in danger
  • Failure to properly monitor a baby’s heart rate during labour
  • Overworked staff

The report recommends new protocols be put in place in relation to foetal monitoring, communication between staff when warnings signs are identified and senior oversight of all activity on the delivery suite.

The RCOG’s recommendations are designed to create a system where mistakes are spotted and dealt with – and prevent single mistakes leading to catastrophic, life-changing outcomes for parents and babies.

Improving investigations into neonatal deaths and injuries

The report also criticised the way in which serious incidents are investigated. It found that 25% were of such poor quality that conclusions could not be drawn. Perhaps more worryingly, it also found that 30% of investigations failed to involve parents. 

Trusts and health boards are being advised to improve these figures as a matter of urgency.

Advice for parents after a difficult or traumatic birth

Childbirth is supposed to be a joyful and exciting event, but unfortunately this is not always the case. If you have suffered a difficult or traumatic birth resulting in injury to either you or your baby, our team of experienced and specialist birth injury solicitors can help you find a way forward.  We have expert solicitors who can help you to take the next steps.

Over the years, we have secured £millions for families whose children have suffered injuries such as cerebral palsy or Erbs palsy as a result of poor care during labour delivery and/or the neonatal period. We are currently helping a number of families to investigate and understand the circumstances of their child’s birth; to help them access the best possible treatment and rehabilitation; and, whatever the nature or extent of the disability, to secure maximum compensation so that they can positively plan for their future.

In 2016, Tees settled three maternal birth injury cases and secured compensation of £400,000 for parents and their children. Our experts are completely committed to helping parents get the answers and financial support they need following complications during birth or labour.

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