Review finds 11 baby deaths may have been avoidable at Victorian hospital

The Victorian government has revealed that 11 stillbirths and newborn deaths at a Bacchus Marsh hospital could potentially have been avoided, following the latest review into baby deaths at the health service provider.

Late last year the heartbreaking details of the deaths of seven babies at Djerriwarrh Health Services were made public, amid revelations the tragedies could have been avoided. This morning, Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy outlined the details of the latest review into baby deaths at the facility since 2001. It revealed that of the 26 neonatal and stillbirths at the centre between 2001 and 2012, four were potentially avoidable. That’s in addition to the seven that were previously found to be avoidable between 2013 and 2014.

“This brings the total number of stillbirth and newborn deaths at Djerriwarrh Health Services from 2001 until today to 38 deaths, of which 11 were potentially avoidable due to failures at Djerriwarrh Health Services,” Ms Hennessy said in a press conference earlier today. “This is 11 lives lost that could potentially have been avoidable. I extend my deepest condolences to the women and their families involved.”

The distressing findings have prompted the Victorian government to reassure pregnant women who will potentially give birth at the hospital. “We have taken steps to ensure new leadership at both a clinical and governance level at Djerriwarrh, and put in place a series of measures to make the hospital as safe as it can possibly be,” Ms Hennessy explained.

This assurance was echoed by the health service last year in a statement: “We have new leadership, new equipment, new clinical governance and additional training and education for staff. We assure all mothers and their families that the steps we have taken will safeguard reliable and effective maternity services at Djerriwarrh Health Services.”

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