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Mother hopes Martha’s rule will ‘upend hierarchy’ on hospital wards

The mother of a 13-year-old girl who died of sepsis has said she hopes Martha’s rule, which gives patients and their families the right to a second medical opinion, will “upend” the “hierarchy” on hospital wards.

Merope Mills, who campaigned with her husband, Paul Laity, to give families more say regarding care following the death of their daughter Martha, also called for a “mutual respect” between patients and doctors.

More than 140 NHS sites in England have agreed to implement Martha’s rule, a patient safety initiative that will give patients and their families round-the-clock access to a rapid review by an independent critical care team from elsewhere in the hospital if they feel their health, or that of a family member, is deteriorating and they are not being listened to.

Speaking at NHS ConfedExpo on Wednesday, Mills, an executive editor at the Guardian, said: “My big thing is, I think we need to be more equal.

“It’s a very unequal place, a hospital ward, and there’s hierarchy and it’s very steep and it’s very strict. And, you know, when I first started talking about that, I sort of thought the nurses were at the bottom of the hierarchy.

“And I refer to that because they didn’t feel that ability to speak up in Martha’s case. But I’ve actually come to realise that the people at the bottom of the hierarchy are the patients.

“They are the ones with the least power and I just would like to upend that and just have a sense of mutual respect between doctor and patient.”

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Source: The Guardian, 14 June 2024


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