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Fentons highlights forthcoming Baby Loss Awareness Week
Baby Loss Awareness Week 2011 will run from 9 October and culminate on 15 October, with International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.
Rebecca Gilmore, a solicitor at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said: “Having personally experienced the tragedy of baby loss I am very keen to help highlight Baby Loss Awareness Week which aims to promote better understanding of the impact of pregnancy and baby loss among health and social care workers as well as the community at large.
“It is hoped the Baby Loss Awareness Campaign 2011 will give bereaved parents, their families and friends the chance to commemorate the tragically brief lives of their babies and unite people across the UK who have been touched by the loss of a baby during pregnancy or shortly after birth,” she added.
17 babies die every day in the UK with the majority born stillborn and the rest dying very shortly after birth. Every hour and a half, a family is devastated by the tragic stillbirth or neonatal death of their baby. This accounts for almost 6,500 babies lost every year in the UK alone.
One baby in every 200 births is born stillborn and stillbirth remains 10 times more common than cot death. The Lancet, the world’s leading general medical journal, attributes stillbirths to five main causes: childbirth complications, maternal infections in pregnancy, maternal disorders including diabetes and hypertension, foetal growth restriction and congenital abnormalities. One in four stillbirths however remain ‘unexplained,’ and 90% of stillborn babies lack any serious abnormalities often born perfectly formed with no discernible reasons as to why they died.
“These statistics are both shocking and incredibly sad as a significant majority of these deaths are preventable,” said Rebecca. “While infant and neonatal mortality has declined in the UK over the last 10 years, the stillbirth rate has remained largely unchanged. This simply isn’t good enough.
“Stillbirth and early infant death research is woefully under-resourced in the UK,” added Rebecca. “Although some stillbirth causes such as pre-eclampsia and preterm labour are well known about and continue to be researched, more funding is desperately needed to research the unexplained causes and how antenatal screening and interventions can be improved to identify at-risk babies.”
Rebecca was speaking as herself and members of the London medical negligence team look forward to strengthening ties and sharing medical negligence knowledge and expertise later this month with ‘Sands,’ the stillbirth and neonatal death charity which provides emotional support, comfort and practical help to anyone affected by the death of a baby during pregnancy or after birth.
“The significance of the invaluable support charities such as Sands offer the thousands of grieving families who go through the heartbreak of losing their babies can never be underestimated,” said Rebecca. “Sensitive and thoughtful quality care of this nature can obviously never remove the pain and profound sense of loss bereaved families experience following the loss of a baby, but it may offer a degree of comfort.”
As well as providing crucial support to anyone who has lost their baby, Sands also aims to work in partnership with health professionals to improve the quality of care and services offered to grieving families and to promote continued research and changes in clinical practice in an effort to stem the numbers of babies lost each year.
“It is paramount that Sands and other charities continue to pressure the government to make stillbirths a public health priority,” said Rebecca, “17 babies dying each day is entirely unacceptable.”
For more information please visit http://www.babyloss-awareness.org/
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Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims relating to medical negligence. If you think that you have a case or require further information, contact Fentons on 0800 019 1297 or fill in the online claim questionnaire.
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