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Scotland: Mother wrongly downgraded to low risk

Doctors "failed to realise" that a first-time mother's pregnancy had become "much higher risk" because crucial warning signs were not properly highlighted in her medical records, an inquiry has heard.

Nicola McCormick was obese and had experienced repeated episodes of bleeding and reduced foetal movement, but was wrongly downgraded from a high to low risk patient weeks before she went into labour.

Her daughter, Ellie McCormick, had to be resuscitated after being born "floppy" with "no signs of life" at Wishaw General hospital on March 4 2019 following an emergency caesarean.

She had suffered severe brain damage and multi-organ failure due to oxygen deprivation, and was just five hours old when her life support was switched off.

A fatal accident inquiry (FAI) at Glasgow Sheriff Court was told that Ms McCormick, who was 20 and lived with her parents in Uddingston, should have been booked for an induction of labour "no later" than her due date of 26 February.

Had this occurred, she would have been in hospital for the duration of the birth with Ellie's foetal heartbeat "continuously" monitored.

In the event, Ms McCormick had been in labour for more than nine hours by the time she was admitted to hospital at 8.29pm on 4 March.

A midwife raised the alarm after detecting a dangerously low foetal heartbeat, and Ms McCormick was rushed into theatre for an emergency C-section.

Dr Rhona Hughes, a retired consultant obstetrician who gave evidence as an expert witness, told the FAI that Ellie might have survived had there been different guidelines in place in relation to the dangers of bleeding late in pregnancy, or had her medical history been more obvious in computer records.

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Source: The Herald, 24 January 2024


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