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'Ethnic bias' delayed care before Liverpool woman's death

"Cultural and ethnic bias" delayed diagnosing and treating a pregnant black woman before her death in hospital, an investigation found.

The probe was launched when the 31-year-old Liverpool Women's Hospital patient died on 16 March, 2023.

Investigators from the national body the Maternity and Newborn Safety Investigations (MSNI) were called in after the woman died.

A report prepared for the hospital's board said that the MSNI had concluded that "ethnicity and health inequalities impacted on the care provided to the patient, suggesting that an unconscious cultural bias delayed the timing of diagnosis and response to her clinical deterioration".

"This was evident in discussions with staff involved in the direct care of the patient".

The hospital's response to the report also said: "The approach presented by some staff, and information gathered from staff interviews, gives the impression that cultural bias and stereotyping may sometimes go unchallenged and be perceived as culturally acceptable within the Trust."

Liverpool Riverside Labour MP Kim Johnson said it was "deeply troubling" that "the colour of a mother's skin still has a significant impact on her own and her baby's health outcomes".

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Source: BBC News, 16 February 2024


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