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Family of Jessica Rudland critical of result of independent investigation

PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 July 2017 | UPDATED: 19:57 26 July 2017

Jessica Rudland

Jessica Rudland

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The family of a 24-year-old new mother who suffered a severe brain injury while under the care of Ipswich Hospital say they are dismayed with the outcome of an independent investigation.

Jessica Rudland, from Ipswich, was rushed to Ipswich Hospital in August 2015 suffering from heart palpitations and breathlessness 15 days after giving birth to her son Lewin.

She then suffered a cardiac arrest.

Jessica’s family claim she was then ‘abandoned’ for a period of time, later suffering a hypoxic brain injury which left her in a coma for 13 days.

The family said a serious Incident (SI) investigation which followed was not broad enough and did not follow their version of events prompting an apology from Ipswich Hospital and more recently its chief executive Nick Hulme.

Jessica pictured with her son Lewin.  Picture: CHRIS RUDLANDJessica pictured with her son Lewin. Picture: CHRIS RUDLAND

A letter written to the family on July 17 from Mr Hulme said: “Our original investigation into the events surrounding Jessica’s early treatment fell short of the high standards we aspire to and...with hindsight the focus of the investigation was too narrow.”

• Watch a video diary of Jessica Rudland’s time in critical care

Jessica pictured while she was seriously ill in hospital.  Picture: CHRIS RUDLANDJessica pictured while she was seriously ill in hospital. Picture: CHRIS RUDLAND

This week the family finally received the findings of a second and final independent report conducted in the wake of the SI investigation.

However, Jessica’s father Christopher Rudland claims there are 877 deletions compared to a previous draft and that it includes 12 previously unseen witness statements.

On Monday Mr Rudland set up a petition demanding hospitals change the way they investigate patient harm which has already gathered more than 500 signatures.

He said: “It feels like we are taking four steps forwards and five steps back.

Jessica Rudland.Jessica Rudland.

“They have just slashed out paragraphs of information, they have just cut it out.

“They have tried to make it match their side of events.”

Mr Rudland now plans to hire his own investigator to get to the bottom of what happened to his daughter.

He said: “They stress the importance of transparency so changes can be made and people can learn what to do when things go wrong.

Jessica has made huge progress, but still has difficulties with balance and walking.  Picture: CHRIS RUDLANDJessica has made huge progress, but still has difficulties with balance and walking. Picture: CHRIS RUDLAND

“They keep writing reports and say they will take on board the recommendations.

“But I don’t know whether they will.”

A spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital said: “Everyone involved in Jessica’s care fully understands her family’s determination to understand what happened to their daughter.

“This final independent report into Jessica’s treatment and care has been undertaken by a panel of senior experienced clinicians outside of our trust. The board of the hospital has not participated in the writing or made any amendments to the report it has received.

“Jessica’s family were invited to review the draft report and amendments were made following their comments. This is accepted best practice in carrying out clinical investigations.

“We have tried very hard to answer the questions Jessica’s family raised with the chair of the independent panel, and it was intended that this full and independent investigation would provide these.

“It is highly regrettable to us all that Jessica’s family feel we have let them down. This was not our intention.”

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