14 January 2011
Inferior Maternity Care: A Real Issue
I was not very surprised at all at the contents of this article on maternity care last week.
We unfortunately represent many families who have suffered the consequences of inferior care given at night or at the weekend across many hospitals throughout the country. This is the time when Consultants or at home and away from the hospital leaving difficult decisions to be made by junior doctors without the relevant expertise and skill.
Unfortunately the hierarchy of the NHS means that junior doctors feel unable to call for the guidance of Consultants out of hours. And what are the consequences? Junior obstetric doctors are in charge of difficulties deliveries with insufficient expertise at using forceps or vacuum ventouse, and the inability to correctly interrupt an abnormal faetal heartbeat which indicate when a baby is in distress. The baby is left in the womb, being deprived of oxygen which can result in irreversible brain damage in the most severe cases.
This may have been avoided had the warning signs been recognised and the doctor acted with the necessary speed and skill. Unfortunately, this trend of obstetric negligence, with babies being born with cerebral palsy and erb's palsy is set to continue unless further investment and training is provided to ensure that there are sufficient experienced doctors on duty at all times.
However, junior doctors deserve recognition for the long and unsocial hours they work and the level of care we receive in hospitals is generally good. However, with additional training and supporting those less experienced, steps can slowly be put in place to avoid tragic mistakes happening in the future.
Amy Bond is a solicitor specialising in clinical negligence, with an interest in cosmetic surgery claims. If you or a member of your family have a clinical negligence enquiry please call our expert clinical negligence solicitors on 0800 916 9049 or contact us online and one of our specialist clinical negligence team will be in touch
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