Neonatal Death

Neonatal Death

In 2014, nearly 2000 babies died in the UK within the first 4 weeks of life. Many of these will have been born prematurely or have had a congenital disorder which made survival unlikely. It is estimated that 500 babies die each year as a consequence of trauma or some other event suffered at the time of the birth. With better care, many of these deaths could be avoided.

A natural birth is a traumatic event in itself, but an unborn baby is amazingly resilient and is able to cope with this event without injury. However any interference with the supply of oxygen oxygenated blood to the unborn baby can have devastating effects. The reduction in blood supply may be complete, for example in the event of a placental abruption, or partial with some occlusion of the umbilical cord. Any distress which the unborn baby is suffering can usually be appreciated with proper and careful monitoring.

On occasions the monitoring is inadequate and the baby can be delivered having suffered a brain injury. The high quality neonatal care we have in the UK means that many of these babies now survive, perhaps affected by cerebral palsy or some other brain injury. In extreme cases of distress however the damage caused is so extensive that the baby cannot survive.

Sands – the stillbirth and neonatal death charity – provides invaluable support to people affected by the death of a baby, its website is

Wolferstans has a specialist medical negligence department which has expertise in advising parents in such situations. If you have a child who died or was injured as a consequence of inadequate medical care and would like to have a free initial discussion -without any obligation- please contact Ann Ball on 01752 292374 or email her at

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