The financial and psychological price caused by the consistent reluctance of authorities to admit mistakes and accept responsibility. ( see The Patronising Disposition of Unaccountable Power: Rev James Jones 1st November 2017) This delinquent culture must be improved.
Stillborn baby’s parents receive £2.8m from Nottingham hospital trust.
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Payout to Jack and Sarah Hawkins is thought to be largest settlement for a stillbirth clinical negligence case
Sarah and Jack Hawkins. Sarah was in labour for six days before Harriet was stillborn, almost nine hours after dying, at Nottingham City hospital in April 2016. Photograph: Shawn Ryan
Jessica Murray Midlands correspondent – Mon 6 Dec 2021 14.47 GMT
A couple whose daughter died before birth after failings by maternity staff have received a £2.8m payout from the NHS in what is believed to be the largest settlement for a stillbirth clinical negligence case.
Sarah Hawkins was in labour for six days before Harriet was stillborn, almost nine hours after dying, at Nottingham City hospital in April 2016.
Sarah and her husband, Jack Hawkins, who both worked for the NHS trust at the time, were initially told by hospital staff that Harriet had died of an infection, but successfully pushed for an independent investigation.
An external review of the case, published in 2018, found 13 failures on the part of maternity staff, including a delay in appropriate foetal monitoring and omission of antenatal advice, and concluded the death was “almost certainly preventable”.
“The fight for justice has worsened our PTSD and depression, so we’re unable to return to our careers. This settlement is basically payment for our career loss and for the psychiatric injury. We wouldn’t have been here if they’d listened,” said Sarah, who previously worked as a senior physiotherapist.
“All we wanted was for them to listen and to improve the maternity care, but they didn’t, so we had to keep fighting.”
Jack, who was a hospital consultant at Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC) in Nottingham, had his contract terminated at the end of 2018. “It plunged us into financial insecurity, in the midst of this trauma, and we had to borrow a lot of money,” he said.
Janet Baker, from Switalskis Solicitors, who represented the couple, said the award was the highest for a stillbirth case and that along with legal fees was likely to cost the NHS more than £3.5m. “[Sarah and Jack] don’t see this as a victory,” she said. “No amount of money could ever compensate for the loss of Harriet or for the way they were treated afterwards.”