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Government considering coroners to investigate all stillborn babies

Stillbirths may be investigated by coroners if they are given new powers to independently assess each baby's death.

A government consultation is currently being held into whether coroners should be allowed to investigate all stillbirths which would help parents gain answers on what happened to their baby and what went wrong.

Not only would this give the family answers but could also prevent more baby deaths from occurring.

Nine babies are stillborn every day and, in many cases, doctors are unable to tell the parents why. Our rates of stillbirth are the lowest on record but they are still higher than some other comparable countries, which have succeeded in bringing rates down even further.

Currently, inquests are only held for babies who have shown signs of life after being born and hospitals will investigate when a healthy pregnancy ends in stillbirth.

But, by investigating all stillbirths after 37 weeks of pregnancy, this could help the medical profession learn for the future to help reduce the number further.

Lesley Herbertson, Partner and clinical negligence solicitor at Potter Rees Dolan, said:

We have acted on behalf of many parents who have suffered the tragedy of their baby being stillborn. Very often they simply want to gain a better understanding of what caused this to happen. Therefore, if there are more formal and quasi-legal routes available to help them gain answers to their questions without having to instruct their own lawyer then that has to be a sensible step forward.

The consultation comes after parents of a stillborn baby girl called for law changes back in October 2017. They believed if inquests were held into previous stillborn deaths she may have survived; read their story here.

Read how Lesley secured damages for a mother after one of her twins died during delivery.

Lesley Herbertson is a clinical negligence solicitor here at Potter Rees Dolan. Should you have any queries about clinical negligence issues or indeed any other aspect of this article and wish to speak to Lesley or any other member of the team please contact us on 0161 237 5888 or email Lesley directly.