Health

East Kent baby deaths: ‘Hospital did not learn from mistakes’

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Media captionEast Kent Hospitals: ‘Lessons have not been learned’

The parents of a baby who nearly died after a series of failings during his birth said they were “heartbroken” mistakes continued to be made

East Kent Hospitals told Harry Halligan’s parents they would learn lessons from his delivery in 2012.

But similar failings recently came to light after the death of Harry Richford in 2017 and the trust is now being probed over up to 15 baby deaths.

The trust said it made “many changes to the maternity service” after 2012.

Image caption Dan and Alison Halligan were promised lessons would be learned after failings in their son’s care

Parents Dan and Alison Halligan, from New Romney, said watching news coverage of an inquest into Harry Richford’s death earlier this year, which laid bare the failings, had brought back stressful memories.

Mr Halligan said the trust “clearly haven’t learned from [the] mistakes” made in his son’s care, adding that it was “heartbreaking” to see “the same mistakes being repeated”.

Analysis

Mark Norman, BBC South East Today health correspondent

The cases of Harry Halligan and Harry Richford were both subject to what’s called a “root cause analysis” by the hospital.

Both reports highlight very similar issues and lessons to be learnt, but five years apart.

There were lessons to be learned around foetal heart monitoring; problems using syntocinon, a drug used to make contractions stronger; poor communication with families and issues with consultants, including their role and the time they are on wards and even problems getting hold of them out of hours.

Harry Halligan’s twin sister had been delivered first without major complications at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.

But Harry was delivered by emergency caesarean section after failed attempts to use forceps.

Mrs Halligan said the decision was taken “a bit late”.

The hospital did not seem prepared for the potential complications of delivering twins and a consultant had not initially responded to a pager alert as she was not aware Harry was a twin, she said.

Mr Halligan said news of the other preventable deaths made them feel “fortunate,” adding: “We got away with it.”

East Kent Hospitals apologised to the Halligan family and said changes made since 2012 included “increased staffing levels, improved communication processes and new standards for obstetric care”.

“We are currently working with leading maternity experts to make sure everything we are doing now is providing a safe maternity service and a good experience for families and babies,” it added.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-51728051

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