Lawyers and charities tell of mothers told to ‘labour at home as long as they can’, dangerously few midwives and ‘lies’ during natal care.
As Rozelle Bosch approached her due date she had every reason to expect a healthy baby. Neither she, her husband nor the midwives knew that the child was in the breech position at 30 weeks.
When her waters broke a fortnight early, Bosch and her husband, Eckhardt, both first-time parents, had been reassured by NHS Lanarkshire that all was well and that the mother was “low risk”. They were sent home from Wishaw hospital and told to monitor conditions until the pregnancy became “active”.
Shortly before 11pm on 1 July 2021, her husband called an ambulance saying that Bosch was in labour and was giving birth.
Bosch was in an upstairs bedroom on her knees and paramedics noted that “the baby was pink”. They soon asked the control room for a doctor or midwife to attend but none were available. By the time the ambulance took the family to hospital, the baby had turned blue.
Within two days, baby Mirabelle had died. She had become trapped with only her feet and calves delivered while the couple were still at home. A post-mortem has found that Mirabelle suffered oxygen deprivation to the brain from “head entrapment” during delivery.
Last month, her father explained to a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) at Glasgow sheriff court: “We were told Rozelle was healthy and Mirabelle was healthy. I think this was a lie and the consequences have me standing here today.”
The way that the tragedy unfolded is striking, not just because of the devastating consequences, but because it is not an entirely isolated case.
The same FAI is examining the deaths of two other newborns, Ellie McCormick and Leo Lamont, who also died in NHS Lanarkshire less than a month apart in 2019. Experts say it is rare for the Crown and Procurator Fiscal Service to group investigations in this way.
Darren Deery, the McCormicks’ lawyer and a medical negligence specialist with Drummond Miller, said he had noticed a “considerable increase” in parents contacting the law firm in the past three years.
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Source: The Times, 11 February 2024