Legal action looming over Walsall Manor unborn babies

Walsall | News | Published:

Hospital bosses could be facing legal action from families after remains of almost 90 unborn babies were kept for up to four years when they should have been cremated within months.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell today said people have started getting in contact with them since the scandal was revealed earlier this week.

It comes as patient representative group Healthwatch Walsall said it wants to be part of the hospital's investigation.

Bosses at Walsall Manor Hospital have apologised after 86 occasions where remains from miscarriages or terminations were kept for longer than they should have been.

They have decided to contact only five women where records indicate they would want to be informed rather than cause 'widespread distress' to others.

But Irwin Mitchell says 'a number' of people affected have already been in touch in the last three days – and so far at least one case looks like it could be pursued.

Mandy Luckman, a partner and medical law expert at Irwin Mitchell's Birmingham office, said: "This is hugely distressing for all concerned and is forcing families to relive horrific ordeals that they hoped they had laid to rest some time ago.

"We have been approached by individuals affected by this scandal. We understand that an apology has been offered, but the families affected would like to know why foetuses have been kept without permission, whether any tests have been carried out without permission and confirmation that whatever systems failed that meant this scandal could happen have been rectified.

"They also deserve answers about why the hospital waited until it was public in the media to confirm the situation, launch an investigation and offer an apology.


"They deserve to know how long the trust has known about the situation and that any failures are learned from and shared throughout the NHS to ensure no other hospital can find itself in the same position."

A letter by joint chairmen of Healthwatch Walsall, Richard Pryzbylko and Rupy Pandaal, to Walsall NHS bosses says: "We were very concerned to read the alarming story that the remains of almost 90 unborn babies had been kept at the Manor Hospital for up to four years.

"We see this as a matter of serious public concern and we are pleased to see that you are launching an independent investigation.

"As part of Healthwatch Walsall's role as the public voice we believe that we should be part of the investigation."

The hospital trust declined to comment.

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