Home U.K Scandal-hit NHS trust admits guilt over newborn's death 'at last, some justice'

Scandal-hit NHS trust admits guilt over newborn's death 'at last, some justice'

0


Tom and Sarah Richford fought for years to get hospital bosses to admit they were responsible for the death of their son Harry. He died at just seven days old after an emergency delivery at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, Kent, in November 2017. And yesterday, in the first case of its kind, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust admitted in court to failing to provide safe care and treatment to Harry and his mother under the Health and Social Care Act 2008 Regulations.

The prosecution by the Care Quality Commission followed an inquest in 2020, which found Harry’s death was wholly avoidable and contributed to by neglect at QEQM Hospital.

And disastrous medical decisions would have been “brushed under a carpet” if the parents had not campaigned for answers.

Yesterday Tom said: “At every hurdle it did seem that the hospital was trying to avoid scrutiny.

“So we kept having to fight and fight and fight and eventually we’ve now got the inquests, and the inquiries and the investigations that really mean that change should hopefully be more systemic and sustainable.” 

Harry was born via an emergency delivery in Margate, before being transferred to the intensive neonatal unit at William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, Kent.

During Sarah’s labour there was excessive use of drugs. And when Harry’s heartbeat was raised, he should have been delivered within 30 minutes.

Instead, doctors took 92 minutes to act.

The consultant doctor should have turned up earlier than she did and the stand-in locum was inexperienced and not properly assessed.

Harry’s family said in a statement that the rate of neonatal deaths and still births at the trust had both fallen since 2020. They said: “This proves that with the right level of focus, leadership and attention, babies’ lives can be saved.”

Sarah also welcomed the guilty plea. 

She said: “We’ve got some level of justice that means although Harry’s life was short, hopefully it’s made a difference and that other babies won’t die.

“If somebody had done this before Harry was born, he may be alive.” Lawyers for the East Kent trust yesterday entered the guilty plea at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court. Sentencing will take place on June 18.

Susan Acott, East Kent Hospitals chief executive, said: “We are deeply sorry that we failed Harry, Sarah and the Richford family and apologise unreservedly.”

There is currently an independent review into the trust’s maternity services.



LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here