Law Firm Urges NHS To Consider True Cost Of Birth Trauma

Awareness Week Organised To Highlight Issue

01.04.2011

Leading medical law specialists from Irwin Mitchell solicitors are urging the NHS to learn from past mistakes to reduce the number of birth traumas in the UK.

Ahead of this year’s National Birth Trauma Awareness Week (4th to 10th April), being organised by national charity, the Birth Trauma Association (BTA), the law firm has urged medical experts and the NHS to investigate the true cost of birth traumas – including not only the physical and psychological effects on parents and their babies, but also the hidden economic impact.

Irwin Mitchell’s Auriana Griffiths, a medical law expert at the firm’s London office, says more needs to be done to reduce the number of serious birth traumas in this country.

She commented: “Traumatic births are sadly far more common than people think. Both our own medical law teams and BTA deal with many cases involving traumatic births. Often this involved babies who have been stillborn or left severely disabled at birth. Additionally we deal with women who have been left with both physical and psychological injuries.”

Apart from the incalculable damage done to parents and their babies, there is the serious economic impact of having to ‘pick up the pieces’ following the aftermath of traumatic births.

“It is clear that prevention is always the better option and we are calling on the NHS and medical professionals to work together to learn lessons and share best practice so that the number of birth traumas can be reduced.”

Birth Trauma Awareness Week is run by the Birth Trauma Association, a national charity which supports all women who have had a traumatic birth experience – for more information visit http://www.birthtraumaassociation.org.uk/

Case Study

On August 17, 2007 Marisa Sanders, 34, from Bromley, Kent, went into labour and went to the Princess Royal University Hospital where, as a result of a previous difficult delivery, she had been scheduled to undergo a caesarean on August 20.

But on arrival, despite her waters having broken and signs that labour was underway, she was left in a triage room for more than three hours where she was barely monitored and refused pain relief by the midwife. Ms Sanders said that even when it became apparent that the baby was in distress the staff on duty were slow to take action.

Thomas Arben Deliu was born without a heartbeat at 23.58 on August 17. He was not breathing. Despite receiving treatment his injuries were too severe and he died on August, 19 at just two days old.

Ms Sanders said: “To this day the overwhelming feeling of loss and grief at losing Thomas is indescribable. Our hearts have been shattered into such small pieces that even a lifetime cannot repair. Being left isolated from medical staff and ignored during labour is something that should never happen to a woman when she is at her most vulnerable.”

As a result of what happened to her, Marisa is calling for more parents to be made aware of help available from the Birth Trauma Association.

She said: “Only parents and their family members who have been through the utter devastation of losing a child can begin to understand the grief process.  That’s why spreading the word about The Birth Trauma Association, and the contact it can offer with other families who’ve been through the same heartbreak, is so important.”