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Hospital Trust Criticised By NHS England For Maternity Care Standards Admits Liability For Baby’s Death

Parents Call For Lessons To Be Learned After Instructing Irwin Mitchell


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

The parents of a baby who died following complications in childbirth are calling for lessons to be learned after a health trust in the Midlands admitted liability for his death.

Myles Oakley’s death was amongst dozens of cases that triggered an NHS investigation which found serious failings in the quality of maternity services at Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley between April 2014 and December 2015.

The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust has now agreed a substantial undisclosed settlement with Myles’ parents, Louise and Craig Oakley, after the couple instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the level of care their son received.

Expert Opinion
Louise and Craig will never forget the tragic and traumatic events surrounding Myles’ birth. While nothing can ever make up for the loss of Myles we are happy that the Hospital Trust has admitted liability, allowing Louise and Craig to receive specialist support as they try to come to terms with their son’s death the best they can.

“From our experience of investigating maternity care on behalf of the families affected, many birth injuries, stillbirths and neonatal deaths are wholly avoidable. Tragically, Louise and Craig’s story is the latest example of this.

“It is vital that the Trust learns lessons from Myles’ death so other families don’t have to experience the same suffering as Louise and Craig.”
Mark Cawley, Associate

Louise, 40, went into Russells Hall Hospital on 7 May, 2015, to give birth to Myles.

His condition started to deteriorate and Louise was given drugs to speed up the labour.  Myles was in distress but was not delivered until after 10pm. He was born in a poor state and had to be resuscitated. Sadly he deteriorated further and the couple took the heart-breaking decision to turn off Myles’ life-support machine the following morning.

Myles died from a brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen, an infection and antepartum bleeding.

His death was among 43 ‘serious incidents’ at the hospital which triggered an investigation by NHS England.

The investigation focused on 25 incidents and found that, between April 2014 and December 2015, there had been one death and five cases of ‘avoidable harm’.

Failings included babies being put at risk by staff misinterpreting heart rate readings, staff being slow to respond to urgent situations and a lack of paediatric support to carry out resuscitation as well as concern regarding the use of drugs to induce labour.

A ‘detailed clinical review’ was undertaken and an improvement plan put in place. A report published by the Dudley Maternity Quality Improvement Board last October said maternity services at the Trust were now “safer and more clinically effective”.

Louise and Craig criticised the hospital for not allowing them to spend time with Myles and being rushed out of the hospital.

Louise said: “The agony of losing Myles is something that neither of us will fully ever get over. 

“Nearly three years on I’m still angry with not only the care we received but the way we were treated by the hospital. We never got to hold Myles while he was still alive and after he died it felt like we were in the way. We were told his death was simply ‘one of those things’.

“Myles will always be a part of our family. We are devastated he is not here to grow up with his brother and sister but we will definitely make sure Savana and Crixus will know all about their wonderful brother.

Craig added: “I wouldn’t wish the pain our family has gone through over the last few years on anyone. I just hope that Russells Hall makes improvements to make sure nobody else suffers like we have had to.

Irwin Mitchell is still investigating another birth in relation to the Trust from the same period of time. 

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in handling medical negligence cases.