Preventing brain injury at birth

The Each Baby Counts programme has found that three-quarters (76%) of the 1,136 stillbirths, neonatal deaths and brain injuries that occurred on UK maternity units in 2015 might have had a different outcome with different care.

Three-quarters (75%) of these babies had severe brain injury and the report highlights that better fetal monitoring and neonatal care are crucial, along with other recommendations. The 2015 data is the first full-year set of data since Each Baby Counts was launched by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) in 2014. The initiative aims to halve the number of babies who die or are left severely disabled as a result of preventable incidents occurring during term labour by 2020. The project has had a 100% participation rate with UK NHS Hospital Trusts. Kym Field, whose baby Alfie was left with brain damage and later died, welcomed the fact the programme acknowledges that mistakes do happen and is working to ensure they are learnt from. She said: “After three months of going round and round every eventuality in our head, we were told “the root cause of the incident was that Alfie’s CTG trace was misinterpreted during labour”. Our baby’s death was down to a collection of errors and negligence. “He was our perfectly healthy boy until a few hours before he was born when he was showing all the signs of struggling but this was simply not interpreted correctly. Many opportunities were missed. Hospital meetings and the inquest passed in a blur. All we wanted was our precious perfect baby in our arms.” This is the first time the results of local investigations into stillbirths, neonatal deaths and brain injuries occurring during labour have been brought together in order to understand the bigger picture.
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