Legal Update
3 December 2019

Jade Ferguson writes in the AvMA, Lawyers Service Newsletter [November 2019] about the Inquest into the death of Master Henry James Maw, whose family waited 14 years to understand the circumstances of his death.

Master Henry James Maw died shortly after his birth on 22nd August 2005 at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton. Despite medical staff reporting they had heard a heartbeat, he was noted to be a stillbirth throughout his medical records and his death was not reported to the Coroner.

After pressing the hospital for an explanation, Henry’s death was eventually reported to the Coroner in 2016. An inquest was eventually held some 14 years after Henry’s death, at which Parklane Plowden barrister, Jade Ferguson, appeared as the advocate for the family.

The Coroner concluded that the medical staff had failed to diagnose an impending uterine rupture which ultimately led to Henry’s death. Although the blood cord analysis indicated that it was unlikely Henry would have been born alive, the Coroner accepted the evidence given by the Nurse and SHO present at the birth who reported ‘unequivocal signs of life’ and concluded that Henry was a live birth.

Whilst there were no findings of gross negligence or breach of Article 2, the Coroner was critical of the obstetric care Henry’s mother received.

The full article can be read here on page 22.

Jade was instructed on a pro-bono basis by Charlotte Connor from AvMA.