Another British Hospital Apologizes for Baby's Death
In late September we reported that a British Hospital apologized and admitted liability for mistakes that led to the death of a baby. We also reported in October that an American hospital (State of Idaho) had apologized for medication errors that caused the death of an infant. Well, it was reported yesterday that another British Hospital -- Leicester General Hospital -- apologized and admitted liability in the death of a baby. Baby Delilah Hubbard died two days after birth, the victim of medical malpractice. In their admission of liability, the hospital said staff did not treat the high risks pregnancy in an appropriate manner and was slow to order a C-section, among other items. The news article included the statement of apology from the hospital -- no weasel words here:
In a statement, Joan Morrissey, Midwifery Matron at Leicester's Hospitals said: 'In light of the mistakes that were made in the way Delilah's birth was managed we know that an apology can never undo what happened and may bring little comfort to Mr Hubbard and Ms Bassford. Nevertheless we are deeply sorry for the mistakes that were made and we would like to send our condolences to them both. We let them, and Delilah down. We have written to Mr Hubbard and Ms Bassford offering our sincerest apologies for what happened and to provide them with a copy of the detailed investigation report we carried out following Delilah's death. Senior members of staff also met with Mr Hubbard and Ms Bassford to discuss their concerns and talk them through the findings of our investigation." We have taken this tragedy incredibly seriously and will be attending the inquest in April to explain to the Coroner exactly what went wrong and what we have done and will be doing to ensure as far as possible that this does not happen again.'
This appears to be a powerful example of apology and how healthcare organizations can use disclosure to learn from events and provide closure for all stakeholders. Moreover, it is good to see hospitals publicly owning mistakes in potentially high value cases, as opposed to seemingly low value cases as we have discussed in this forum recently.
Disclosure starts with teaching your directors, managers, and front-line staff how to say "sorry." The Little Book of Empathy is a terrific teaching tool for healthcare, insurance, and legal professionals. We've sold thousands of copies....to receive your copy, click here.