Wigan hospital bosses pay out after giving grieving parents wrong location for baby's ashes

Wigan Infirmary
Wigan Infirmary

Blundering hospital bosses have paid compensation to a family who were tragically given the wrong location for their baby’s ashes.

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh (WWL) NHS Foundation Trust has had to issue an apology and said lessons have been learned following the ordeal suffered by the grieving mother and father.

The couple, who have asked not to be named, lost their son to a late miscarriage at 23 weeks and five days.

However, they were then told the youngster’s ashes had been scattered in the baby garden at Westwood Cemetery when they had actually been placed in the Lower Ince Cemetery next to it.

To compound the error, the family later found out children who were classed as a late miscarriage have not been placed in the baby garden since 1997.

The heartbroken couple, who fought a three-year legal battle against the NHS, now want other mourning parents to ensure they are going to the right place to remember their youngsters lost before they were born.

WWL has now reached a settlement and said it is deeply sorry for the mix-up at such a difficult time in the couple’s lives.

The father said: “It has been a traumatic time for us and we are glad to have found some closure at the end of such a long legal process.

“It was heart-breaking to learn that the place we had visited regularly to grieve and contemplate this life-changing incident wasn’t the right location.

“Other people who have also suffered the loss of a child need to know that they may also be unaware that they are grieving in the wrong place.”

The couple were assisted by Midlands law firm Wright Hassall and medical negligence solicitor Jeanette Whyman.

The hospital originally claimed the error was a case of misinformation as during the administration process the couple referred to their child as stillborn rather than a late miscarriage.

There are different procedures in place for stillbirths, which describes a child lost in the womb after 24 weeks.

Ms Whyman said: “It is an incredibly sad set of circumstances and something no-one should have to go through.

“The most important thing for the family is that they are able to put this mistake behind them but they are keen to warn other families who might find themselves in the same position.”

A WWL spokesperson said: “We apologise to the family, once again, for the misunderstanding and incorrect communication that arose in this case.

“When this case came to our attention, the Trust introduced new processes and pathways to improve communication with families in the very sad circumstances of pregnancy loss.

“A financial settlement has now been agreed and once again we offer the family our sincere condolences.”