A review into mother and baby deaths and serious injuries at an NHS hospital trust — labelled potentially the UK’s deadliest failure at a maternity unit — has been widened to cover 215 families.
The Care and Quality Commission (CQC) launched a review into the Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Hospital Trust in 2017 over concern of 23 cases of infant and mother deaths and serious injuries of infants including brain damage.
The review into the West Midlands, England, hospitals was nearly tripled in August to include 60 families, increased again in September to 100, and for the third time was expanded to over 200 on Wednesday.
The BBC reports that it is understood not all new cases related to deaths or serious harm.
In October, the CQC said it was taking “urgent action to protect people” at the NHS trust after doctors were found to be failing to spot potential problems on baby scans. Staff were also said to be failing to notice signs of potential sepsis, according to The Telegraph.
Then last week, health secretary Matt Hancock put the trust into special measures — a status applied to hospitals that fall short of standards where an external improvement director is appointed.
7 in 10 Baby Deaths or Cases of Brain Damage at Birth Caused by Bad NHS Care https://t.co/Yr7wIwBl2F
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 13, 2018
Breitbart London reported in August that cases, stretching back 19 years, included at least four deaths of mothers, infant death, and brain juries.
It was alleged in August that the midwife-led units had an obsession with ‘natural births,’ with affected parents claiming that had their babies been delivered by caesarian or with forceps, they may not have suffered oxygen deprivation-related brain damage.
One mother told the Daily Mail how she was “crying out of a c-section” at one of the maternity wards during her traumatic birth. She claimed her baby became trapped in her pelvis and was left with a large bruise on his head after a consultant used forceps to pull her son out of the birth canal.
The alleged preference for birth without these interventions was said to echo midwives’ zealous adherence to natural birth at Furness General Hospital — part of the Morecambe Bay NHS Trust where a 2015 government inquiry found that the deaths of 11 babies and a mother at the Trust were the result of a “lethal mix” of failures.
A source close to the Shrewsbury and Telford situation told the Health Services Journal “the scale of this could put Morecambe Bay into the shade.”
A project by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists published a report Tuesday which revealed that out of 1,123 cases of baby deaths or neonatal brain damage examined, 71 per cent could have been avoided if the NHS had given better care.