Inquest into baby’s death at Derriford Hospital

Devon inquest lawyer represents family in ‘truly tragic case’.

Oliver Thorne, a specialist in clinical negligence and a highly experienced Devon inquest lawyer, has represented the family of a baby who died just 13 hours after being born at Plymouth’s Derriford Hospital.

The coroner described it a ‘a truly tragic case’ and outlined a series of medical failures and missed opportunities relating to the birth of Giles Cooper-Hall.

Experts said that if matters had been handled differently, the baby’s death might have been avoided, though no-one could be entirely certain what the outcome would have been.

The case has hit the national headlines, and the family, supported by campaigners, are now demanding a national inquiry into maternity safety.

The case had previously been investigated by the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch, which concluded that:

A loss of situational awareness, (brought about by a focus on a new method of calculating the baby’s heart rate), and a lack of understanding of the mother’s risk factors (due to information held by the clinician at the time), led to the emergency call bell not being activated when the baby’s heart rate could not be heard, which meant that senior involvement was delayed.

The report made five recommendations for future maternity care at the Plymouth hospital. Maternity services at Derriford have previously been the subject of criticism and the unit is rated as requiring improvement by the Care Quality Commission.

Oliver, who is an expert in maternity negligence law and is committed to campaigning to improve NHS maternity services, had this to say following the coroner’s verdict:

“I am dealing with a number of similar cases where clients have suffered poor treatment at the hands of maternity units around the region. There are similar themes, including the lack of fetal monitoring and the failure to recognise an emergency situation.  Something needs to change.”

If you would like a confidential chat with Devon inquest lawyer Oliver Thorne, then you can contact our free legal helpline by calling 0808 139 1594 or sending an email to us at [email protected]


Inquest into baby’s death at Derriford Hospital
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