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23A) The loss of Baby Harry Richford: The pain is a life sentence

8th Mar, 2021 | Information


“His parents were told he would never be able to feed himself or walk, so the advice from the consultant was that they withdraw his care
Speaking to the BBC, Mrs Richford said she and her husband were unable to hold their son “until the day that he died”, and the seven days during which he had survived had been “the worst week” in their life.
“Harry was perfect when we saw him and to have to withdraw the care from your baby and to live with that afterwards… it’s a whirlwind of negative emotions to try and cope in everyday life.
“It has been the hardest two years of our life,” she said.

On Thursday it was revealed that at least seven preventable baby deaths may have occurred at the East Kent Hospitals Trust since 2016.
The trust was placed into special measures in 2014 following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which rated its care, including maternity services, as inadequate.
Subsequent CQC reports have rated it as “requires improvement”.
Ted Baker, chief inspector for hospitals, said the commission was aware of the conclusion of Harry’s inquest, and it had conducted an unannounced inspection of the trust’s maternity services on Wednesday and Thursday.
“CQC’s investigation is ongoing and no decision has been taken at this stage on whether we will prosecute the trust for a failure to provide safe care or treatment resulting in avoidable harm or a significant risk of avoidable harm,” he said.

Inquiry plea
After the hearing, Mr Richford said: “Our son died because of a number of serious and preventable failings that amounted to neglect.
“Sarah had a textbook pregnancy and Harry was born on his due date. But as a result of the failure to resuscitate him, he died.”
Mr Richford added the trust had tried to avoid outside scrutiny by refusing to call the coroner, despite being asked numerous times, and had said Harry’s death was “expected”.
He said: “Accidents happen every day but failing to learn from them appears to have become part of the culture of this trust. It was known there was a risk. The risk was present as far back as 2014.”
Mr Richford said the trust “failed to mitigate the risk despite the risk being a real risk to life”.
He said: “We are calling on the secretary of state to order an independent investigation or inquiry into maternity services at East Kent.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We can never underestimate the agony of losing a baby and our thoughts are with Harry’s family following the tragic loss of their son.
“An extensive programme of support is in place to improve the maternity services at the Trust and we will continue to closely monitor the actions and progress.”