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June is Sands Awareness Month

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

SANDS is the stillbirth and neonatal death charity.

They are there to support families when a baby dies during pregnancy, at birth or shortly after birth. In the UK, 15 babies die each day which is one baby every 90 minutes or 450 babies per month.

SANDS main aim is to support anyone affected by the death of a baby and ensure bereaved families receive the best possible care by working in partnership with healthcare professionals, training both midwives and doctors. SANDS also aim at trying to promote improvements in practice to help reduce the number of babies dying and fund research into why the deaths have occurred. SANDS provide free support to anyone affected by the death of a baby through their national helpline, forum and network of support groups.

It is vital that care received is reviewed when things go wrong. In 2015, it was found that 60% of stillbirths may have been prevented if health professionals had followed national guidelines. Furthermore, an enquiry in 2017 found that 80% of babies who died as a result of something going wrong in labour may have been prevented had the babies received different care to what was given.

A stillbirth is when a baby is born dead after 24 weeks of pregnancy. A loss of life before this will be deemed as a miscarriage. Neonatal death is where a baby passes away during their first 28 days of life. In the UK, 0.5% of pregnancies end in stillbirth, most being caused by placental problems or the mother’s health.

If you or a family member has suffered a stillbirth, it can be painful to find out that medical staff involved could have done more to save your child or prevented their death, had they provided the appropriate and proper care.

Of course, not all stillbirths are preventable but regular check ups whilst pregnant can help to spot any early symptoms or warning signs. Our medical negligence team can support you through your stillbirth or neonatal death claim and try to help you receive the closure you need.

A claim may be brought if a health professional:-

  • Did not give regular check ups when they should have.
  • Missed vital symptoms or misinterpreted test results.
  • Failed to refer you to a consultant for abnormal results.
  • Failed to treat the symptoms quickly and correctly.

A stillbirth can occur for many reasons, most of which will not be negligent. These include:-

  • Placental abruption-where there is a separation of link between the mother and baby.
  • Insufficient blood supply through the placenta.
  • Pre-eclampsia-when the mother has high blood pressure and excessive protein in her urine.
  • Gestational diabetes.

Not all of the above causes are fatal if treated appropriately. However, if a health professional fails to recognise and appropriately treat such conditions which results in a stillbirth, there may be a claim for medical negligence.

Bringing a claim is ultimately about helping you recover from the tragic loss and any compensation awarded can cover the cost of therapy, lost wages and other expenses. SANDS can also offer you support whilst dealing with a claim and it has been found that just having someone to speak to can be extremely comforting and beneficial.

If you need any advice call our Specialist Team