Bacchus Marsh hospital baby deaths: Mother makes plea for change to health system

A Melbourne mother whose baby died during delivery at Bacchus Marsh hospital, north-west of Melbourne, says she hopes reforms to the system will spare other families the same tragedy.

Natasha McMillan, who lost her daughter Eloise, said the family should have been celebrating her daughter’s fifth birthday this week.

“Instead, we’re mourning the loss of her for another time, because of the medical negligence that has happened,” Ms McMillan said.

“We lived for four years believing that we lost our daughter due to a common mistake that happens during labour.

“In February this year we found out that it was an avoidable case, and that it was medical negligence that took our daughter away from us.”

The Victorian Government has committed to overhauling hospital safety, introducing a new oversight agency, better training and data sharing to reduce the number of avoidable deaths in hospitals to zero.

The review was brought about after 11 babies were found to have died avoidable deaths at the Bacchus Marsh hospital.

“Any change that’s going to prevent this happening to any other family is welcomed,” said Ms McMillan, who made a submission to the review.

“For another family to have to go through what we’re going through right now I think is just devastating.

“So any changes that can help, I’m fully supportive.”

Lawyers welcome review, but warn against more bureaucracy

Maurice Blackburn lawyers is representing more than 20 people whose babies died, or were injured during birth at Bacchus Marsh hospital.

The firm’s head of medical negligence, Kathryn Booth, welcomed the recommendations of the review, particularly a proposal for a duty of candour law, which would require health services to explain and apologise when harm was caused.

“A simple apology would go a long way.”

However, she cautioned against a proposal for a no-fault compensation scheme, saying it would introduce more bureaucracy, and make hospitals less accountable.

“It appears to be that bureaucracy has caused many of these issues at Bacchus Marsh, and a no-fault system could lead to further bureaucracy,” Ms Booth said.

“It’s better to look at the causes of error, and try to improve our system.”

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

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