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Apology after maternity unit deaths

The chief executive of a hospital trust has apologised for failings in the standard of care given to two women who died after using its maternity service.

Channel 4 News reported that Queen's Hospital in Romford is facing legal action by 12 women or their families over the care they received in the maternity unit.

The programme's website said that a report into the death of Violet Stephens in April after she had been admitted with pre-eclampsia, a potentially life-threatening condition in pregnant women, had uncovered a "succession of failures" in her care.

The serious untoward incident report found there was a failure to administer a blood transfusion as planned, a delay in making the decision to deliver her baby, and when she was found unresponsive with gasping breath, it took 25 minutes for a cardiac arrest call to be made, Channel 4 News said.

The 12 women or their families taking legal action against the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust include the husband of Tebussum Ali, known as Sareena, who died along with her newborn baby in January this year, it added.

The report into those deaths said hospital staff failed to spot the signs of a ruptured womb, and they then tried to resuscitate her with a disconnected oxygen mask, it said.

Averil Dongworth, the trust's chief executive, said: "Our hospitals deliver nearly 10,000 babies each year, and it is our highest priority to ensure each woman receives the highest standard of care in this important moment in their lives.

"I am so sorry that both Violet Stephens and Sareena Ali did not receive the standard of care they were entitled to expect, and I am determined to address problems we identified in their care, so that other women can be confident about our maternity service in the future.

"We commissioned an investigation into their deaths so we can learn lessons from them and take action to make sure our maternity service is safe and that every woman can have the best possible experience of childbirth.

"These actions have included recruiting an extra 72 midwives this year, improved staff support and training, and new guidelines to safeguard women who need to have their labour induced or who are experiencing complications. We have ensured we have one of the highest levels of specialist doctor coverage of any maternity unit in the country."


From Belfast Telegraph