Still Births – Can They be Avoided?


Are hospitals doing enough to avoid stillbirths, or are they missing a chance to save the lives of unborn babies? This is an uncomfortable question, but it's a question that we need to ask.

Still Births – Can They Be Avoided?

UK Amongst European Countries with Highest Stillbirth Rates

In the UK, there are said to be more than 3000 stillbirths each year. Despite innovations and improvements in healthcare, you might be surprised to hear that the UK has one of the highest rates of stillbirths in Europe with 4.7 per 1000 babies born.

These results are according to the findings from an inquiry led by a group of academics and clinicians at the University of Leicester which focused on still births at full term where the babies had no congenital abnormalities. Sadly, these make up a 3rd of all stillbirths.

Missed Opportunities to Save Lives

The inquiry found that in almost all these cases, the women had contacted their maternity unit when concerned that their babies were either not moving or movement had slowed down. It revealed that due investigations were not carried out, resulting in missed opportunities to save the lives of unborn babies. Even women with high risk pregnancies, such as those with diabetes, may not have had these extra checks.

The President of the Royal College of Obstetrician and Gynaecologists (RCOG), Dr David Richmond, expressed how disappointing it is that this new enquiry confirmed the same results of similar recommendations made some 15 years ago.  The questions that need to be asked are; are some of these tragedies avoidable? Is everything that needs to be done being done?

Against this news, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced plans to reduce stillbirths by 50% by 2030. There will be some unavoidable stillbirths, but there has to be a better standard of care and there is always scope for improvement. This report should be taken seriously by the decision makers and the medical professionals in charge of bringing new life into this world. In such an advanced country, we ought to be working harder and better to prevent avoidable stillbirth full stop.

Supporting Parents Following Negligent Stillbirth

What cannot be overlooked is the heartbreak families go through when the death of their child could have been avoided. Our Medical Negligence Solicitors at Simpson Millar deal with many tragic cases involving stillbirths and are experts at supporting parents in claims for compensation following substandard treatment.

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