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Parents Back SANDS Awareness Month After Coroner Critical Of Care Provided To Their Son

Expert Medical Negligence Lawyers Investigating Care Provided By Whittington Hospital NHS Trust


The devastated parents of a boy who died shortly after birth have spoken out to back SANDS Awareness Month, shortly after the Coroner investigating their son’s death criticised the care he received at the Whittington Hospital.

Joanna Ktorakis, 26, from Haringey, London, attended the hospital on 20 May 2015 where a long labour with her first child ensued. Errors in care across 20 to 23 May 2015 led to a delay in delivering her son, Vasilis.  

When he was eventually born, he was in a poor condition and despite efforts to resuscitate him, he did not respond and tragically died.

Now, his parents, Joanna and Victor, with the support of medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are backing SANDS Awareness Month, which attempts to increase awareness of stillbirth and neonatal deaths and the impact these tragic situations can have on the parents involved.

The month-long event raises funds that enable the charity to support anyone who has been affected by the death of a baby before, during or shortly after birth. The organisation provides vital emotional support and information for parents, grandparents, siblings, children, families and friends, health professionals and others.

Joanna and Victor are hoping that by speaking out about what happened to them that people will learn more about the issue of stillbirths and neonatal deaths in the UK.

Sarah Wealleans, an expert medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, who is representing Victor and Joanna in a civil case against the Trust, said:

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“Sadly, we see through our work that stillbirths and neonatal deaths are still a significant issue in the UK but it is an issue which many do not like to talk about. The work the SANDS charity does to support those affected by these terrible instances is invaluable and we hope the current awareness month will ensure these issues remain at the front of peoples’ minds.

“There are significant concerns over the treatment Joanna was provided by the Whittington Hospital during the delivery of Vasilis and the Coroner at the recent inquest into his death found a number of errors in care. It’s important that lessons are learned from this incident.

“Victor and Joanna want to speak out about what they’ve been through to ensure stillbirths and neonatal deaths are addressed across the nation, not just at the Whittington Hospital. They want to do everything they can to make sure what they went through doesn’t happen to other parents and hope that by speaking out they will help others.”
Sarah Wealleans, Solicitor

During an inquest into Vasilis’ death in October 2015, the Coroner criticised the care provided to Joanna and Vasilis by the Whittington Hospital NHS Trust and outlined that she believed future deaths would occur at the hospital unless further action was taken.

She sent a Prevention of Future Deaths report to the Trust outlining errors in care, without which an earlier delivery could have been achieved.

The Coroner also identified problems with the Trust’s investigation into Vasilis’ death, including a failure to inform staff of the errors they had made during the delivery process, that some staff involved in Joanna’s care were not asked to contribute to the investigation and that staff were not informed of the findings of the investigation, which meant opportunities to improve patient care were lost.

Joanna, who has recently given birth to a daughter, said: “I never felt that the issues I was raising whilst in labour were taken seriously and can’t help but think if they were Vasilis would still be with us today.  I am reassured that the failures have been identified by the Coroner to prevent this happening again but unfortunately this will not bring Vasilis back and my family and I will have to live with this for the rest of our lives.

“We now want to speak out about what we’ve been through during SANDS Awareness Month in the hope it will shed some light on the problems that can occur in maternity care in the UK and that there is support out there for those who have endured the unimaginable loss of losing a child at birth.

“We hope by speaking out more funds will be raised for SANDS to continue the work they do and to make people listen and take note that stillbirths and neonatal deaths are still a problem in this country.”

To find out more about the SANDS charity, the work is does with those affected by stillbirths and neonatal deaths and how you can get involved in raising funds, click here.

If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of negligent delivery, we may be able to help you claim compensation. See our Medical Negligence Guide for more information.

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