Ambulance failure 'contributed to baby death'

From BBC - February 5, 2018

The failure to provide an emergency ambulance contributed to the death of a newborn baby, a sheriff has found.

Nevaeh Stewart died at Montrose Royal Infirmary's community midwife unit (CMU) in September 2012.

Her mother Kimberley Stewart had gone to the unit after going into labour at her home in Auchenblae, Aberdeenshire.

After a fatal accident inquiry, Sheriff Pino Di Emidio ruled that reasonable precautions could have been taken to avoid her death.

This included the "provision of more precise and accurate evidence-based information about birth site choice to the prospective parents during the course of the pregnancy in order that they might make an informed choice of birth site".

The inquiry at Forfar Sheriff Court was told that Nevaeh died three-and-a-half hours after she was born.

Midwives had been called to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee when she became unwell but a neonatal transport team did not arrive for another two hours.

The sheriff ruled that Nevaeh had "simply languished" at the midwifery unit receiving only "basic resuscitation" because NHS guidelines would not allow a blue light ambulance to be sent to collect her.

The dedicated neonatal team that was allocated to cover Montrose at the time was on another job in Wick when she was born.

Nevaeh's father Gary Stewart told the inquiry that his family had later discovered that a neonatal transfer unit can take "several hours" to arrive at midwife-led maternity units.

He said: "It seems that the NHS are of the opinion that community midwife units are emergency response blackspots.

'Would not have risked it'


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