The press reports a health worker being arrested on suspicion of administering poison with intent to endanger life after a child died at Birmingham Children's Hospital.
The child was being treated in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at the specialist hospital which was named in Newsweek’s ‘World’s Best Hospitals – top 50 specialised list’ in 2020. Birmingham Children’s Hospital is a recognised world leader in some of the most advanced and complex paediatric surgical procedures and research and was rated as ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) when last inspected in 2019.
Following the death of the infant, West Midlands Police are now investigating, in line with national procedure after unexpected deaths of children set out in the Children Act 2004. Government guidance also sets out the roles and responsibilities for those agencies (police, health professionals and children's social care) responding to an unexpected child death, which is defined as: ‘the death of an infant or child which was not anticipated as a significant possibility or where there was a similarly unexpected collapse or incident leading to or precipitating the events which lead to the death’.
Sadly, this is not the only incident of a health worker being investigated over a child’s death. A nurse is facing 18 criminal charges concerning the murder of five baby boys and three baby girls at the Countess of Chester Hospital between 2015 and 2016. The nurse there was arrested for a third time in November 2020 and is due to go to trial at Manchester Crown Court on 4 October 2022.
Kashmir Uppal, partner in Shoosmiths Birmingham medical negligence team commented:
“Given the previously exemplary record of patient care at Birmingham Children's Hospital this is a shocking and saddening development. This is a very difficult time for the family involved and I can only hope the ongoing police investigation may lead to a greater understanding of what happened. Whatever the cause of the tragic event, any lessons learned once the investigation is concluded must be taken on board by all maternity and neonatal units.”
This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2022