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Failings at Furness general hospital led to deaths of 12

A recent report has found that of failings of a maternity unit of a hospital in Furness, Barrow led to the unnecessary deaths of one mother and 11 babies.

Hospital negligence

An investigation into the 12 deaths at Furness general hospital between 2004 and 2013 has found that the maternity services had poor levels of clinical competence, extremely poor working relationships and a determination among midwives to pursue normal childbirth “at any cost”.

The inquiry into the hospital in Furness was set up in 2013 to explore concerns over what appeared to be a spate of unnecessary deaths.

Dr Bill Kirkup, who wrote the report, said:

“Our findings are stark and catalogue a series of failures at almost
every level – from the maternity unit to those responsible for
regulating and monitoring the trust. The nature of these
problems is serious and shocking.

“We found clear evidence of distortion of the truth in responses to
investigation, including particularly the supposed universal
lack of knowledge of the significance of
hypothermia in a newborn baby.”

The trust board has since been changed entirely. The hospitals now have 50 more midwives and doctors and the trust has given the assurance that, as a whole, it has improved in many respects.

Additionally Labour MP for Barrow and Furness, John Woodcock, has said that those responsible for the practices laid bare by the report “must be held to account – including re-opening of criminal investigations if necessary.”

Subsequently, seven individuals are currently under investigation by the Nursing and Midwifery Council in relation to events at Furness hospital, while the General Medical Council said eight individual doctors have already been investigated.

One was struck off, one received a warning, and one was given advice. No action was taken against five doctors, while one further doctor is still being investigated.

If you have been affected by medical negligence, and you would like expert advice, contact the Hampson Hughes Solicitors Medical Negligence Team today on 0151 242 1025 or email medicalnegligence@hampsonhughes.com

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