Couple sues Redcliffe hospital over stillborn baby

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PARENTS of a baby delivered stillborn ... claim medical staff repeatedly ignored warning signs their unborn baby was distressed.

... Documents ... allege a midwife ignored and turned down the volume of an echocardiogram alarm that sounded for more than three hours ...

The documents also claim Mrs Body was diagnosed and treated for deep vein thrombosis and thrombophilia (blood clotting) ...

She alleges the hospital ought to have known her medical history and the risks associated and failed to recognise a natural birth "could not be performed safely".

The documents show Mrs Body was admitted to hospital at 8am on February 26, 2007, and was monitored at half-hour intervals between 9.30am and 3pm.

Her waters were broken by a doctor about 4pm and at 4.30pm an epidural was administered.

It is alleged that at 5.10pm an echocardiogram alarm attached to Mrs Body began making loud noises, but the volume was turned down by a midwife ... four other times when the alarm sounded ... it was turned down by the same midwife.

Monitors alarm quite often. They do not tell the midwife that the baby is distressed, they prompt the midwife to check the trace and ensure that it is ok. If the midwife determines that the baby is fine, the monitor sound is turned down.

The echocardiogram alarm continued to sound until 8.20pm but medical staff did not respond to it.

It wasn't until 9.30pm, when Mr Body requested for Mrs Body to have an internal exam that one was performed, court documents claim.

It's normal practice to leave 4 hours between examinations.

By 10.40pm, Mrs Body was told the baby's heart rate was "low" and "we need to get her out now".

This is not an uncommon scenario when a woman has had intervention in her birth. In this case, the woman had her waters broken, had an epidural and presumably also had a syntocinon infusion. All of these can stress babies. I also wonder what position she had been labouring in. It's common for women with epidurals to labour on their backs and this does not help the baby to navigate the pelvis and be born, and it promotes fetal distress.

Paige Hannah Body was delivered by vacuum extraction about 11pm. She was not breathing and could not be revived ... The State Government is yet to file a defence.

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448