A very interesting report from the BBC this morning concerning the rates of brain injuries sustained by babies in the UK during labour. This report really resonated with me because 30 years ago my own son was born with severe brain injuries partly due to a foetal heart trace showing severe distress, not being monitored correctly and therefore not acted upon.
As I say, my son's birth was 30 years ago and I was aware of other families at the time who's children suffered similarly. Although there was a great deal of publicity at the time surrounding my son's injuries and we knew from the lawyers who successfully sued the North Staffordshire Health Authority on our behalf that the medical and nursing professions were aware of these problems nationwide, it seems that it has taken until now, with God only knows how many children's lives decimated, for someone to do something about it!
As readers of this blog will know, I run Snowdrop for Brain Injured Children, - a child development agency who provides programmes of developmental stimulation for brain injured children. We have been operating now for 10 years and during that time I have heard story after story from families who say that their baby's heart monitor was either ignored, or not interpreted correctly. This amounts to hundreds of children that I can account for where parents have legitimate questions to ask in this area.
According to the BBC's report, the major issues are "problems with accurate assessment of foetal wellbeing during labour and consistent issues with staff understanding and processing of complex situations, including interpreting baby heart-rate patterns (on traces from CTG machines)"
This is a shocking situation in it's own right, but the fact that I can account for this situation being prevalent for the past 30 years makes it even more disturbing. Children's lives are being decimated and therefore so are the lives of their parents and wider family. Let's hope that this report brings an end to the situation, - but I very much doubt it!