Hospital settlement over baby death
Friday 23rd August 2013, 11:30AM BST.
The family of a baby boy who died after being starved of oxygen when midwives failed to notice he had been born under bed sheets has reached an out-of-court settlement with hospital bosses.
Maninder Singh was born on October 23, 2008, at St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester following a labour during which his mother Geeta, who suffered from diabetes, opted for an epidural, leaving her unable to feel anything from the waist down.
When Maninder was delivered, medical evidence suggests he was already in a poor condition but the delay in staff noticing and acting to resuscitate him meant he suffered further avoidable injury, an inquest in Manchester heard earlier this year.
He remained in the intensive care unit throughout his life and died on May 4, 2009.
Lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, who are representing the family, said that an internal investigation by Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust found midwives repeatedly failed to check Mrs Singh’s progress or effectively monitor the baby’s heart rate.
In April, Manchester Coroner Nigel Meadows recorded a narrative verdict in which he highlighted eight specific failings which led to the baby’s death.
Earlier that month, hospital bosses finally admitted that medical staff had failed in the duty of care to Maninder and Mrs Singh, who herself died of multiple organ failure after the birth of the couple’s second child in January 2010.
Sharon Williams, from Irwin Mitchell, said: “Mr Singh and his family have fought tirelessly in the memory of a much loved little boy who died under horrific circumstances as a result of medical failings and, today, justice has been done – but this is a bittersweet victory.
“No apology and no amount of money will ever replace what they have lost and they only hope that lessons have been learnt and future such tragedies prevented as they look to move forward with their lives.”
Maninder’s father, Kamaljeet, from Urmston, said: “This has been an extremely difficult four years for my family. We lost a much loved son under horrific circumstances.
“We have fought so hard and we waited so long to receive an apology and an admission that more could have been done to save him. No amount of money in the world could ever replace what we have lost but we are now finally in position to move forward with our lives. We feel that in some small way justice has been done.”
Ms Williams said the family still wanted to know why there had been delays in admitting liability and apologising.
She said: “Despite an internal investigation concluding in July 2009 identifying a number of key failings in the care his wife and son received, Maninder’s father received an apology only in May 2013. The delay was unacceptable and unnecessary.
“The internal investigation clearly flagged failures in the care received by Mrs Singh from the very moment she was induced until Maninder’s delivery some eight hours later. He was born with significant brain injuries as a consequence of a lack of oxygen during the birth and later died as a result.
“But despite this evidence being available from July 2009, an admission of liability was only issued on April 5 – nearly four years on. Furthermore, it was only in this letter of admission that the trust expressed an intention to apologise to the family for the first time. It was a further insult to Mr Singh when the apology was not signed by the chief executive himself but signed on his behalf by an assistant.”
She added: “The family want assurances that lessons have been learnt from the failings identified in the trust’s own investigation, clarity as to why there have been such delays in admitting fault and an apology to be made to the family not only for their loss, but for any additional heartache they have endured during this process.”
Kathryn Murphy, head of nursing and midwifery at Saint Mary’s Hospital, said: “We have recognised there were failings surrounding the care of Maninder Singh in 2008 and we accept that this fell below the level of care we normally provide. As a result we have reviewed our practices and systems and implemented a number of changes.
“We would like to once again offer our sincere condolences to the Singh family and express our profound regret for Maninder’s death.”