Oliver Thorne, a specialist birth injury lawyer, has taken the unusual step of writing to the coroner about his concerns regarding the number of incidents he has encountered at North Devon District Hospital’s maternity unit.
Oliver’s actions have caught the attention of the local press and an article has been featured on Devon Online:
Oliver, who specialises in medical negligence cases relating to maternity and childbirth, is dealing with three separate cases involving the deaths new-born babies in the last two years at the North Devon facility. He is also pursuing three other cases where babies have sustained a brain injury.
In addition, Oliver recently acted for a mother who was paid compensation as a result of her baby being stillborn because midwives failed to correctly monitor the pregnancy. Two further deaths are under investigation, though the NHS has conceded fault in one case where a brain injury occurred.
Oliver explains that he wrote to the coroner because it is so rare for a new-born baby to suffer a pulmonary haemorrhage, or bleeding from the lung. He felt that although the coroner was satisfied with the cause of death it was so unusual that it warranted an inquest.
“Lessons must be learned from these tragic cases”, said Oliver. “It is important to stop this kind of thing from happening again and again.”
“I just wish I had the authority to demand that the Care Quality Commission carries out an investigation into these events.”
It is reported that a result of incidents earlier in the year,Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust issued an alert to the group which oversees NHS Trusts, NHS Improvement. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists was also invited to visit the hospital and prepare a report.
Oliver is awaiting further developments with interest and will continue to campaign for an improved standard of service at the North Devon maternity unit.