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London hospital maternity unit criticised by regulator after mother’s death

The safety of maternity services at a major north London hospital has been criticised by the care watchdog after an inspection prompted by the death of a woman.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has issued the Royal Free Hospital, in Hampstead with a warning notice after inspectors identified serious safety failings in its maternity unit.

An unannounced inspection of the hospital’s maternity service took place in October, following the death of Malyun Karama, in February this year.

The 34-year-old died while giving birth to her stillborn baby. She suffered a ruptured uterus after being given an overdose of misoprostol to induce her labour.

In a report following an inquest into her death Coroner Mary Hassell said: “Abnormal observations were relayed by a midwife to a senior registrar, but the doctor failed to attend Ms Karama and instead ordered fluids. The uterine rupture would have been life threatening whatever the care rendered to Ms Karama, but if the doctor had attended immediately and had reviewed and treated appropriately, the likelihood is that Ms Karama’s life would have been saved.”

The CQC has yet to publish a full report on its inspection of the hospital but confirmed it had taken enforcement action and issued the trust with a warning notice.

The concerns relate to the trust being too slow to investigate and make changes after incidents of harm. It’s understood a panel to investigate Ms Karama’s death did not meet until June this year.

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Source: The Independent, 1 December 2020


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