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Further criticism of sub-standard care at Basildon Hospital following death of new-born

An important aspect of a negligence claim for many families dealing with the loss of a relative is the hope that highlighting failings will generate change in hospital procedures to prevent others suffering similar tragedy.

Which makes it even more painful to read in the press this week details of the inquest into the death of a baby boy at Basildon Hospital last year.

Hearing evidence this week, the coroner concluded that serious failings by staff looking after Louise Davies, the baby's mother, contributed to Ennis Pecaku's death at only one-day old.  

The coroner heard that Ennis died hours after his breech birth at Basildon Hospital after Ms Davies' C-section was cancelled because of a bed shortage. Ennis was deprived of oxygen for at least 25 minutes and also stopped breathing during delivery. His condition was so poor, his parents made the decision to switch off life support the next day.

Staffing shortages, communication shortcomings and issues around triage were all identified as failings surrounding Ms Davies' care.

A year ago, I supported a client at inquest into the death of his wife, also at Basildon Hospital. She had gone to the hospital suffering a miscarriage and later died of sepsis because staff failed to identify the cause of the infection and did not treat her accordingly.

She had previously been advised by medical staff to allow her miscarriage to proceed naturally but missed opportunities to remove the infection surgically contributed to her death.

For her husband, left to look after the couple's two young children, it was very important to hear apology from Basildon and Thurrock Hospital Trust at the inquest and the promise that 'a thorough internal investigation into this incident and changes to our policies and procedures have already been implemented as a result'.

Reading this latest tragedy throws such promises severely into doubt. At the time, my client expressed his doubts that change would actually take place following his wife's death. Reading of this baby's death, he said he was very concerned that 'considering all that happened with my wife not so long ago, yet another case has emerged where a timely intervention by the hospital could have saved a life'.

Hospital trusts have the responsibility not only to properly care for patients but also to rebuild trust following terrible situations. Promises to change mean nothing if vital improvements are not implemented and staff are not given appropriate training to ensure the safety of their patients.

Read partner Jane Weakley's blog about the dangers of breech birth.