Tagged: investigations

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NHS is ordered to speed up compensation payouts for families of stillborn babies

Parents currently fight for months or years if baby dies due to poor care Official review will recommend this week that trusts pay out automatically Tory Baroness Cumberlege will call for special team to look into childbirth She will recommend payouts on a ‘no-fault’ basis so no-one takes blame See more news on the NHS at www.dailymail.co.uk/nhs [1] Hospitals should automatically offer compensation to parents of babies left stillborn or brain-damaged due to poor care, an official review will recommend this week. At the moment parents often have to fight for months or even years before the NHS [2] agrees to compensation. Health bosses frequently deny liability until forced to do so by lawyers, and bereaved couples regularly say they have to call on solicitors to find out what went wrong. Now Tory peer Baroness Cumberlege is expected to call for an independent scheme to investigate tragedies in childbirth, which would quickly decide whether compensation should be paid. At the moment parents often have to fight for months or even years before the NHS agrees to compensation and have to call on lawyers to prove their claims. File image She will recommend the investigations and any subsequent payouts are made on a no fault basis, meaning that neither the hospital nor any individual doctor, midwife or nurse would have to admit blame, according to a source. It is hoped this will encourage individuals to come clean with the facts much quicker. The recommendation will be one of several that Baroness Cumberlege, who has been chairing an independent review of maternity services in England, will make when her findings are published on Tuesday. Tory peer Baroness Cumberlege is expected to call for an independent scheme to investigate tragedies in childbirth to quickly decide on compensation An insider said: It will recommend a faster system of investigation and learning and a no blame insurance option to allow families to get support and compensation without litigation. It will be based on a similar scheme in Sweden, the source added. In 2011, the Scottish Government announced it would be introducing a no-fault compensation scheme for the NHS there, but it has yet to come into force. Last night Caroline Tully, who has been campaigning for better investigation of stillbirths since she lost her daughter Clara two years ago, welcomed the idea. Sometimes cases go on for six or seven years, she said. However, she urged caution, saying investigations would have to be independent . Patient safety groups also have concerns. Peter Walsh, chief executive of Action Against Medical Accidents, said: The devil will be in the detail. Any scheme has got to be voluntary, people must be able to retain their right to litigate, and it must compensate people on a needs basis not on an arbitrary tariff basis. It should not short-change people. Britain continues to have one of the highest rates of stillbirth in the developed world worse than Estonia, the Czech Republic and Croatia, according to The Lancet. About 600 stillbirths could be prevented each year if hospitals stuck to guidelines, listened more to parents concerns, and investigated more thoroughly, a report found last November. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has pledged to halve the stillbirth rate by 2030. References ^ www.dailymail.co.uk/nhs (www.dailymail.co.uk) ^ NHS (www.dailymail.co.uk)

71 Migrants Found Dead in Truck Likely Suffocated, Austrian Official Says 0

71 Migrants Found Dead in Truck Likely Suffocated, Austrian Official Says

EISENSTADT, Austria Smugglers whose callous negligence killed 71 refugees 1 found in an abandoned truck last week at the side of an Austrian highway risked the death of scores more just a day later, the police said on Friday. But those migrants saved their lives by breaking open a truck door with a crowbar and were eventually abandoned near a traffic circle in eastern Austria 2 . Six people five Bulgarian citizens and an Afghan with Hungarian residence papers have been arrested so far in the 71 deaths, which were almost certainly caused by asphyxiation, said Hans Peter Doskozil, the police chief of Austria 3 s easternmost province of Burgenland.

The dead were among tens of thousands of people who have fled war in the Middle East in recent months, heading for wealthy northern Europe via Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary. Their discovery shocked Europe a week before pictures of a 3-year-old Syrian boy 4 lying dead on a Turkish beach prompted outcry around the world about the millions of Syrians displaced and often forgotten in conflict. Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans were among the dead in the truck, Mr.

Doskozil said, adding that at least one family had perished. Investigators combing through 17 travel documents, 40 cellphones and about 350 bits of clothing and other items have not been able to positively identify any victims, he said. But the investigations also uncovered an almost catastrophic episode a day later, attributable to the same smuggling ring involved in the 71 deaths, Mr.

Doskozil said. On Aug.

27, as his officers made their grisly find of the corpses, another of the dozens of vehicles smuggling migrants daily into Austria and Germany stopped near the town of Gols and disgorged its passengers near a traffic circle, Mr. Doskozil said.

As is now known, they had survived their journey only after some of the passengers crammed inside twice used a crowbar to open a sliding door on the side of the vehicle, Mr. Doskozil said. Altogether, 81 people were on board that truck.

They were picked up by the police, registered and distributed among centers across Austria now caring for migrants, Mr. Doskozil said. Their narrow escape came to light only after some of them contacted the police when they saw pictures last weekend of the five men arrested and taken to court in Hungary 5 in connection with the 71 deaths.

Their driver was among the men detained, Mr. Doskozil said. Mr.

Doskozil said that the first truck, intended for the transport of refrigerated meat, had no open air ducts and its cooling system had been switched off. The police are now certain that truck came into Austria from Hungary 6 around 9:30 a.m. on Aug.

26, nearly five hours after smugglers picked up their human cargo near the Serbian-Hungarian border and crowded people aboard, he said. The truck was driven straight to Budapest and then west toward Vienna. Based on a technical investigation, Mr.

Doskozil said, we do not believe that it was capable of letting in any fresh air. The volume of the cargo area indicates that they died of asphyxiation, he said, adding that they probably died within 60 to 90 minutes of boarding, he said. That would mean that the deaths occurred in Hungary.

It is still not clear whether the smugglers knew of the fatalities; Mr. Doskozil said three witnesses had reported seeing a man near the truck a day before it was eventually opened. Both trucks, almost identical in size and purchased and registered at the same time, were owned by the same Bulgarian citizen of Lebanese descent, Mr.

Doskozil said. He said the driver of the first truck had been identified both by one of the other accused and by DNA traces found in the cab of the truck. Mr.

Doskozil said it seemed certain that the dead included at least one family, with a son and a toddler girl. He declined to give more details and said it would take weeks or months before victims might be conclusively identified. At least one man drove from Germany to offer DNA samples to see if his relatives died on the truck.

Altogether, about 300 calls have been received on the hotline intended for friends and family of possible victims. Asked whether the link between the two episodes gave him confidence that this case might go deeper into the smuggling networks that now reap billions for their bosses, Mr. Doskozil gave a measured response.

Of course, as a policeman and an investigator, there is always the hope to probe certain criminal structures, he said.

You succeed only in the rarest of cases.

References ^ Times article (www.nytimes.com) ^ More news and information about Austria. (topics.nytimes.com) ^ More news and information about Austria. (topics.nytimes.com) ^ Times article (www.nytimes.com) ^ More news and information about Hungary. (topics.nytimes.com) ^ More news and information about Hungary. (topics.nytimes.com)