Fatal Accident Inquiry continues into baby’s death

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A woman whose daughter died just hours after being born had a “perfectly normal” labour with “no known risks for mother and baby”, her midwife told a fatal accident inquiry today (Wednesday).

Nevaeh Stewart died just three-and-a-half hours after she was born at Montrose Royal Infirmary’s community midwife unit on September 30, 2012.

An inquiry into her death is being held at Forfar Sheriff Court - where her father, Gary Stewart, 30, earlier described the unit as an “emergency response blackspot”.

The probe today heard that midwives had called doctors at Ninewells Hospital to alert them to Nevaeh’s “pale and floppy” appearance within 10 minutes of her birth at 5.10am.

By 5.40 midwives had noted that a neo-natal transport team was “en route” from Dundee, 32 miles away, but that they didn’t arrive until 7.15am.

By that time the two midwives working at the unit had begun CPR after they lost Nevaeh’s pulse.

Sandra Menzies, who retired after 30 years working at Montrose Royal Infirmary three months after the tragedy, told the inquiry that the midwife led maternity unit was the only part of the hospital in operation overnight with no doctors anywhere in the building.

She told how she and fellow midwife Suzanne Knox were “concerned” that Nevaeh may die when she was born pale and floppy and was not breathing

Ms Menzies said: “She was marked as low-risk care.

“When baby was born she needed to be resuscitated.

“I opened her airway and gave her five ventilation breaths - her chest was moving which was a good sign.

“Suzanne called Ninewells and before the call even ended baby was breathing spontaneously.”

However, despite Nevaeh having a normal heart rate and breathing on her own, she remained pale, floppy and non-responsive.

Fiscal depute Nicola Ross asked: “Would it be an unusual situation for baby to have a heart rate and have respiratory effort and look to be in that condition?”

Ms Menzies replied: “Yes - it was very unusual.

“The numbers looked good. The baby did not.”

In earlier evidence, parents Kimberly, 31, and Gary, 30, said Nevaeh was their fourth child - with all three previous children born at Montrose.

The inquiry heard that Kimberly had only had “one quick cuddle” with Nevaeh before she died.

The inquiry, before Sheriff Pino di Emidio, continues and is scheduled to be held over several days between now and September.