Pryers Solicitors

Investigation into baby deaths

A review will be published this week following the increase in unexplained baby deaths at the Countess of Chester Hospital by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

An independent investigation into the “unexpected and unexplained” deaths of babies at the hospital’s neonatal unit was demanded by the royal college.

The review looked at the deaths of 13 premature babies. Solicitors acting on behalf of the family of one of the babies believe they could be connected.

Sarah Ratcliffe, of Pryers Solicitors, said: “The report seems to have identified similarities, both in terms of their sudden deterioration and the unexpectedness of their deaths. There also seem to have been some similarities that have been identified in terms of symptoms that couldn’t be explained.

“One example appears to have been this mottling [of the skin], but that was just one example that was given. I would certainly wish to see an external, independent review of each of the unexpected deaths.”

The report is expected to recommend an immediate and thorough external review of the unexpected deaths at The Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, two babies deaths remain unexplained.

The mother of one of the two babies whose deaths are to be investigated has said her grief has been made significantly worse after feeling like they were kept in the dark about what happened.

After the premature birth of her son, she said medical staff indicated to her that he was doing very well. He then suddenly deteriorated and died 25 hours after he was born.

“They sent my son away for post-mortem and we weren’t kept up to date with that at all. That is really sad because, as a parent, I had just lost my child and I wanted answers. Something as unusual as that shouldn’t have been left until now to be investigated.”

The hospital closed its three intensive care cots and stopped treating very premature babies in July last year. All mothers that are expected to give birth more than eight weeks early are currently being transferred to another hospital.

Ian Harvey, medical director at the Countess of Chester, told The Sunday Times: “We have done all we can to keep parents informed and our clinical teams will be contacting them again ahead of the review being published to make sure a copy is available to them.

“Our work on this has only been completed within the last two weeks and now we have the full and accurate information to share with parents.”

Have you or a loved one suffered due to staff shortages, unsafe care or a failure of medical staff to carry out guidelines correctly? Pryers are a leading national firm of Medical Negligence Lawyers. Our dedicated team of lawyers and experts are well equipped to investigate and advise on all issues of medical treatment.