21 November 2016
Child’s Death Inquest Halted Over Hospital Evidence Tampering Claim
A coroner has halted an inquest into the death of British actor, Jamie King’s five-day-old baby boy following claims medical staff had tampered with evidence.
Benjamin King tragically died from severe brain damage five days after being starved of oxygen for two hours before his birth by emergency caesarean section earlier this year. An investigation revealed that his mother, Tamara Podemski’s caesarean the day before was wrongly postponed.
When the baby was born he was transferred to a specialist unit at St. Michael's Hospital in Bristol. His parents were informed that he had insufficient oxygen for around two hours after the placenta failed.
The midwife in question must be credited for coming forward to reveal the Trust’s attempts to hide key evidence.
The inquest into Benjamin’s death was stopped when coroner, Maria Voisin, heard crucial evidence by a midwife that was allegedly removed by lawyers working on behalf of the NHS trust.
A spokesman for the Avon coroner’s office has informed the Guardian that Ms Voisin is now “considering all information” and could potentially refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service.
The inquest is now scheduled to resume on 16 January.
Mr King told the Guardian: “This delay not only postpones any resolution that we were hoping for but also significantly prolongs our suffering.
“We must create an environment where all medical practitioners feel safe to be honest about their mistakes so we can all hear from them. The inquest and the internal investigations that will be taking place are a tremendous opportunity for growth and change. And we cannot waste them.”
This is a tragic case on the facts alone, and the agony for the family must have significantly increased following this startling revelation about the midwife’s evidence. The Coroner has rightly adjourned to investigate matters further. The midwife in question must be credited for coming forward to reveal the Trust’s attempts to hide key evidence.
Zak Golombeck is an associate specialising in medical negligence claims, public law and human rights cases at Slater and Gordon in Manchester
The clinical negligence lawyers regularly act for people who have lost loved ones as a result of medical negligence, including neonatal deaths, and regularly represent families at inquests.