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Law Firm Pledges Support for Birth Trauma Awareness Day

Birth Trauma Awareness Day 2010


Clinical negligence specialists from national law firm Irwin Mitchell are backing the Birth Trauma Associations Birth Trauma Awareness Day (BTA Day), which takes place this year on August 21st, for the fourth year running.

Ahead of this year’s BTA Day, Angela Kirtley, clinical negligence specialist at Irwin Mitchell, said: “The Birth Trauma Association is a great source of comfort for those families whose lives have been affected in this way, and Birth Trauma Awareness Day is one of the many ways they draw attention to the devastating impact it can have.

“Traumatic births are far more common than people realise and although the outcomes are varied, they are all deeply distressing for the families involved.

“Our Clinical Negligence Team handles a number of cases involving traumatic births, often where babies have been left stillborn or severely disabled at birth.  In both cases, huge levels of support are required to help people through, not only in dealing with the demands of a disabled child but also negotiating their way through the various organisations who obviously try to provide help but are limited in what they can do by restricted resources.”

BTA Day has also been backed by a Teesside woman who recently succeeded in a legal claim to expose the medical mistakes made that led to the stillbirth of her baby, Jonathan in 2007.

Kendra Chilver, from Billingham, is convinced that her son would be alive today had mistakes not been made by staff at North Tees Hospital during her labour.

Now she and her husband David have secured an apology and settlement from North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, thanks to the help from the specialist clinical negligence legal team at Irwin Mitchell.

She said: “I was left broken hearted and devastated by my loss – it has been a bewildering three years.  Everyone thinks of pregnancy as a positive outcome, in my case it wasn’t.

“What makes it more distressing is the idea that what happened could have been prevented. David and I aren’t medical experts but we could see something was going badly wrong as Jonathan’s heart rate kept on plummeting – yet it took far too long for a doctor to be called.”

The couple were overjoyed at the birth of their daughter, Jessica in March this year but found the pregnancy and birth extremely stressful, given the ordeal they had experienced with Jonathan. Fortunately on this occasion the care and support they received from the same Trust could not be faulted.  She said: “The important thing for me in my subsequent pregnancy was to be in charge of my medical care, to say what was on my mind and ask for what I needed, whether it was reassurance, information, frequent visits or just to be given the time to discuss my feelings.”

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