Father: ‘Proper apology’ for birth negligence at Alder Hey

A father is asking for a proper apology after the death of his baby son. Indeed, there exists the potential for birth negligence at Alder Hey Hospital.

Newborn baby Padraig Henry went to the hospital in Liverpool for surgery on a perforated bowel. However, the Henry family has no awareness of the high risk of an E.coli outbreak. Moreover, no one from the children’s hospital took the time to inform them of the risks, either.

Although the procedure has a classification of non-urgent, doctors carry out the surgery anyway. Thus putting the infant at risk of contracting the superbug. Padraig’s death came 8 days later when his parents took the decision to switch off his life support machine.

Heartbroken Colin Henry has vowed to speak out about the case to raise awareness for other parents who may find themselves in a similar situation. In paying compensation, the Alder Hey NHS Foundation Trust admits breach of duty.

But Mr Henry says it was never about the money.

“We had to take the case to court and were made to feel as though it was all about the money, but nothing could be further from the truth.”

He told the Belfast Telegraph that an apology from Aldey Hey alone would have been sufficient.

“If the hospital had admitted responsibility for what happened Padraig, that would have been enough for us. Even when his inquest took place, no one from the hospital showed up until the coroner summonsed them to do so.

“We have been told that new procedures have been put in place but we are speaking out now because we don’t want anybody else to go through what we have gone through,”

Birth Negligence at Alder Hey Puts Hospital Back in Spotlight

Instead, Mr Henry and his partner face the aftermath of their child’s death alone. At the inquest, no representative from Alder Hey would show up originally. But later, a summons by the coroner compels a representative to appear.

This is not the first time that Alder Hey Hospital is subject to unfavourable publicity. A 2013 Care Quality Commission report reveals the hospital’s failure in 4 of their 5 safety standards. Thus putting patient welfare at risk.

Then in 2014, Channel 4 News journalists saw a copy of an internal review. The review points out safety concerns in the running of the hospital’s operating theatres: thus leading to a high-risk environment.

From the Channel 4 News report:

The internal review of the department was prepared by the director of nursing Gill Core and presented to the trust board in December.

It paints a picture of a unit in trouble.

Under the heading “safety concerns”, it says that safety shortcuts “have created high risk activity” and there is a limited reporting of incidents – that is, near-misses and mistakes…

And there are complaints that the working environment is “not welcoming or child friendly”. This in a children’s hospital.

“There is a total absence of toys,” the report says.

Even the scrubs suits they use in the operating theatres are described as “shabby and mismatched”.

Mistreatment claims that date to 2009

There is also damning information for negligence at Alder Hey concerning mistreatment from department leads of staff. This according to a 2011 investigation by the Independent on Sunday.

…an internal review into one department (shows) a “distressing and unpleasant” culture of poor leadership, bullying and high stress levels. MPs called this weekend for an independent inquiry into the allegations.

Moreover, that particular 2011 publication reveals that such treatment may stretch back to the previous decade. Indeed, Channel 4 says some incidences of bullying and staff mistreatment date to “2009 and 2010”.

Henry’s case regarding birth negligence at Alder Hey

Picturing such working environments, it’s more conceivable that Alder Hey staff may struggle to live up to the duty of care expectations.

Peter Walsh of the medical negligence charity, Action Against Medical Accidents, thinks it runs deeper. As he says in the Channel 4 report:

“It is a symptom of an NHS working under increasing pressure and staff feeling unable to raise concerns and compromises to patient safety being allowed to continue.”

Even amidst austerity measures that cut NHS funding in the last decade, however, families (and newborns) should still not have to suffer.

Now, Mr Henry pleads for better informing for families about the risks of potential E.coli outbreak at Alder Hey children’s hospital. Henry also says that such knowledge would help him and his partner make a sound decision.

Specifically, handlers wouldn’t receive his approval for a transfer of his young son to the hospital were he made aware.

Have you or a family member been the victim of medical negligence? For birth negligence issues or hospital infection claims, call or email us today to discuss your legal options.