FFW's Medical Negligence Team support Sands 'Post Mortem Consent Package'
Fieldfisher is a keen supporter of Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity which offers support and advice to parents and families when a baby dies during pregnancy or soon after birth, and campaigns tirelessly to improve understanding about these deaths.
Fieldfisher finds it extraordinary that over 6,500 babies die just before, during, or soon after their birth every year in the UK. It is shocking that the number of stillbirths has not changed in the last ten years. We want to help Sands create greater public awareness of stillbirth and neonatal deaths and to promote greater investigation in to the causes of these deaths, alongside helping bereaved parents and families get the support they need.
Therefore, Fieldfisher is delighted to support Sands in its launch of a "Post Mortem Consent Package", which will significantly improve the quality of care and services offered to bereaved parents. Sands introduced the package after research showed that a post-mortem was carried out after only 18% of neonatal deaths. As a result, the opportunity to ascertain crucial information about the cause of death is missed in the vast majority of cases. Such information is important to help parents understand why their baby died, and also to help healthcare professionals learn how deaths can be avoided in the future. Many parents are left without any adequate explanation as to why their baby died, which only adds to their distress.
The package provides guidance for healthcare professionals when addressing the difficult issue of a post-mortem being performed on the baby. It includes a brochure explaining what a post-mortem involves, and explains the choices that parents have. It also provides a consent form to be used. The package has been carefully prepared and will be of enormous benefit to parents at such a difficult time.
A very keen supporter of Sands, Edwina Rawson, Medical Negligence partner at Fieldfisher said: "I am delighted that Sands has introduced the Post Mortem Consent Package. At Field Fisher Waterhouse we are often contacted by parents who have had a stillbirth or neonatal death. They often feel as though they have been 'left in the dark' about what happened and, more than anything, want answers to their questions. It is often a surprise to us just how little information has been provided to the parents about why their baby died. Sands' package will enhance communication between the healthcare providers and parents which will be a great development. Parents will then be much better equipped to make informed decisions at this difficult time. Further, the results of post-mortems will mean that valuable information is gleaned which will ultimately lead to greater understanding and better standards of treatment. The number of stillbirths and neonatal deaths will then decrease."