Laurence Vick
Posted on 21 Mar 2014

Stark words from parent who lost child at Bristol heart unit

'My advice to Bristol heart parents: consider another hospital.'

Maria von Hildebrand's daughter Jacinta died following heart surgery at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, her death forming part of the scandal brewing at the unit throughout the 1980s and 90s. Maria was one the founder members of the Bristol Children's Heart Action Group, and has since become a vocal and respected patient safety advocate.

A spate of inquests has taken place into recent child heart deaths at Bristol, leading to bereaved families meeting with NHS England's Medical Director Sir Bruce Keogh. Keogh pledged a new public inquiry into the failures at the unit, to be chaired by Sir Ian Kennedy QC.

In a strongly-worded article, Maria writes that

'My advice to any new parent referred to Bristol is to explore options such as Southampton, Birmingham, Evelina or Great Ormond Street. At least until Bristol has taken stock of the failings of care recounted by parents...to Sir Bruce and engaged truthfully with the upcoming independent review.'

You can read Maria's article for the Health Service Journal here.

If you would like to discuss a claim relating to child cardiac surgery or the University Hospitals Bristol Trust, you can contact us for free, discreet and impartial advice.