Montrose FAI: Doctor confirms “greater” chance of survival at Ninewells

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A doctor today told a probe into the death of a baby girl just hours after her birth that she would have had a higher chance of surviving if she had been born in a hospital rather than a midwife led unit.

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.

A fatal accident inquiry into her death is being held at Forfar Sheriff Court - where her father, Gary Stewart (30) of Auchenblae, Aberdeenshire, earlier described the unit as an “emergency response blackspot”.

Today (Thursday) paediatrician Dr Nicholas Connolly, who was part of the neo-natal transfer team who rushed to Nevaeh’s aid from Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, gave evidence at the inquiry.

He said his team had arrived at the Montrose unit around 7.15am and performed CPR and administered drugs in attempt to save Nevaeh’s life.

Dr Connolly described her deterioration as “very, very unusual” given she had a good heart rate and was breathing on her own minutes after her birth.

Midwives earlier told the inquiry that despite her vital signs being good the tragic tot remained “pale and floppy” until her death.

Dr Connolly said the team had battled to save Nevaeh but had brought her parents, Kimberly and Gary in when it became clear she would not survive.

He was asked by fiscal depute Nicola Ross: “Is it possible to say whether she would have survived if she had been born in a hospital?”

Dr Connolly said: “No.”

Ms Ross asked: “If you are a baby born in Nevaeh Stewart’s condition are your chances of survival greater at Montrose Royal Infirmary or at Ninewells Hospital?”

Dr Connolly replied: “I think they are greater at Ninewells because of access to specialist services.”

Dr Connolly added that there are no services in Angus similar to those available in Dundee for babies born in distress.

The probe earlier 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 on September 30, 2012.

By 5.40am 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.

In earlier evidence, parents Kimberly, 31, and Gary, 30, said Nevaeh was their fourth child - with all three previous kids 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 seven days between now and September.

Both she and her husband, Gary, criticised the emergency response available to mothers at community maternity units.