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East Kent Hospital Baby Deaths: Reviewing Past Failures in Respect to Death Rates

This post is all about “East Kent Hospital Baby Deaths”. The BBC investigates the history of the issue and why it took over a decade to be fully uncovered as the results of an inquiry into maternity services at East Kent Hospitals Trust are released.

When Did Things Go Wrong at the Clinics?

Dr. Bill Kirkup conducted an independent study of the Trust over 11 years beginning in 2009, and it wasn’t until Harry Halligan’s death in 2012 that severe issues were apparent. His sister’s delivery went off without a hitch, but the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford wasn’t set up to handle multiples. After failed attempts to use forceps, Harry was delivered through an emergency Caesarean section.

East Kent Hospitals assured Dan and Alison Halligan, Harry’s parents, that the organization had learned lessons from the several inquiries into the Trust that followed their son’s death. However, in 2017, when Harry Richford died seven days after another emergency birth at The Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital (QEQM) in Margate, similar shortcomings were revealed.

After an investigation and evaluation, the Trust acknowledged that it had failed to provide care and treatment that was free from harm. Up to 15 newborn fatalities were being looked into when new cases arose at the QEQM and the William Harvey Hospital. One of the events being looked at is the death of Harriet Gittos, who was just eight days old when she passed away in August 2014.

The April 2016 death of Freddie White was also investigated. It was later determined that he was suffering from twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome and was not receiving enough blood supply. If he had been delivered sooner, the Trust acknowledged, he may have made it. Celandine Rudolph Lowe, born to Kelli Rudolph and Dunstan Lowe in 2016 at the William Harvey, tragically passed away when she was just five days old.

According to the couple, the hospital trust was responsible for the deaths. Four-day-old Hallie-Rae Leek passed away in April 2017. At delivery, she needed resuscitation, but the process took too long, and she was permanently damaged. In August of 2017, Fletcher Aiken tragically passed away because his mother, Katy King, was not correctly recognized as being in the first stages of labor.

East Kent hospital baby deaths
East Kent hospital baby deaths

He was delivered by emergency cesarean section but died aged 13 days. Archie Powell died at four days old on 10 February 2019. He was diagnosed with a gastrointestinal disorder but had group B streptococcus. The stillbirth of Tallulah-Rai Edwards occurred in January 2019. The mother noted the baby’s sluggish movement, but the midwives sent her home since they couldn’t acquire an accurate heart rate measurement. Two days later, Tallulah-Rai was stillborn.

Similar circumstances led to the death of Reid Shaw in November 2019 after his mother, Kirsty Stead, complained of diminished fetal activity and acute discomfort. After being instructed to take paracetamol and sleep, she went to the hospital, where she learned that her son had died. Archie Batten was another victim of “severe failings” at the Trust.

He died when his mother, Rachel Higgs, was turned away from the QEQM because the maternity unit was completed in September 2019. In February of 2021, Alisha Pegg was also transferred off the William Harvey. Her preterm daughter, Grace, was “neglected” by medical care, and Ms. Pegg was told her baby was dead, then alive, before she died hours later.

Which Demands Are Being Made by the Families?

During the last five years, the Richford family has worked tirelessly to uncover this fraud. At first, they wanted to know what had happened to Harry. Once parents understood the boy’s death might have been averted if the Trust had learned from earlier tragedies, including the death of Harry Halligan, they sought structural reform in the East Kent maternity department so others could avoid their trauma.

Derek Richford, Harry’s grandpa, said he did not want to hear further apologies from the Trust. “It’s not good enough. They need to make adjustments,” he remarked.

It’s become abundantly evident that Harry and many more children would still be alive today if the Trust had learned from their early mistakes (in 2010 and 2011).

Whose Responsibility is It to Do This Evaluation?

An expert panel headed by Dr. Bill Kirkup is looking into the Trust. There are five members on the committee.

Following the deaths of three mothers and 16 infants at Furness General Hospital in Barrow in 2015, he investigated the hospital’s “dysfunctional” maternity ward.

This group includes obstetrics, midwifery, neonatal medicine, clinical governance, and data management experts. Read more: Bob Mortimer Was Recently Hospitalized After Admitting ‘he’s Not Very Well at the Moment


  • In 2009, East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust converted to a foundation trust.
  • After a Care Quality Commission (CQC) assessment in 2014 found its care, especially its maternity services, to be poor, the Trust was placed into special measures. Eight infant fatalities prompted an investigation.
  • In 2015, the Morecambe Bay study was released, which looked at the deaths of 11 infants at a hospital in Cumbria. Dr. Bill Kirkup, leading the survey in East Kent, has written that other trusts must learn the same lessons.
  • According to a 2016 report by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, there are significant issues at all of the hospitals in East Kent. NHS England has initiated the Maternity Improvement Plan.
  • In 2018, probes by the Healthcare Safety Investigations Branch uncovered problems.
  • In 2020, witnesses will testify to the coroner about their thoughts and feelings on several issues at the inquest into Harry Richford’s death. The 2016 RCOG evaluation found that the Trust had ignored 21 recommendations. Dr. Kirkup will lead a new impartial review.
  • The Trust was fined £733,000 in 2021 because of its inadequate treatment of Harry Richford.
  • Independent review results are due to be made public in 2022.

Is There a Statement From the Trust?

Previous statements by the East Kent Hospitals Trust included: “No one is immune to the emotional impact of a baby’s death in a hospital’s maternity ward.” It is always tragic to lose a life when it has just begun. It’s not only sad but also heartbreaking when it entails severe inadequacies in the provision of care, as in the instance of Harry Richford. Read more: Aron Canet Was Hospitalized Following an Automobile Accident

“It was obvious that the NHS had neglected to give the residents of East Kent the high-quality maternity care they require and deserve for an extended period. From the bottom of our hearts, we are sorry to Harry’s mom and dad, the rest of his family, and the other families we’ve let down.”

The Trust’s chairman, Niall Dickson, made the following statement after being prosecuted by the CQC: “We let down Harry’s parents by not allowing them to bring home a healthy infant. Those who have been spared such a catastrophe cannot fathom their loss.”

We are aware of our errors. The Trust announced that it appreciated Dr. Kirkup and his team conducting a scathing examination independently.

Based on Dr. Kirkup’s study findings, the Trust is “committed to learning any lessons,” as Mr. Dickson put it.


A devastating assessment of NHS treatment for mothers and newborns is being released.

The report will show how newborn infants died from inadequate treatment over several years at East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust. The investigation may reveal how families’ concerns were ignored and how the Trust failed to learn crucial lessons.

If you’re interested in learning more about the data mentioned in the preceding paragraph, you should stay logged into the website unitedfact.com. This is so because more information will be available to you there.

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