2005-09-29

Health: Turned Away From Maternity Error

A young woman gave birth in her bathroom -- half an hour after medical staff sent her home from hospital, saying her baby's arrival was not imminent. Ms.Jenna Bailey, 21, was told to go back home, take some painkillers and relax. But she was no sooner in the door than her baby daughter started to arrive... Alicia Jane was then delivered with the help of a paramedic and a neighbour who is a nurse. The story did have a happy ending, as both mother and daughter are fine. But Ms.Bailey was critical of 'Aberdeen Royal Infirmary' staff for sending her home.
'I'm a bit annoyed at the hospital -- after all, I was just in the door and it started,' she said. 'They shouldn't have sent me home. 'But it was nice to have Alicia at home, instead of in hospital with all those people prodding and poking me. 'It was so good to have the family around me, and it all turned out OK in the end.'
The drama started on Monday morning, as Ms.Bailey approached the date she was due to give birth. She started feeling the twinges of labour when she woke up at her home in Newburgh Circle, Bridge of Don, Aberdeenshire. She called her mother, Sandra, at work, and a neighbour gave them a lift to the hospital, where she spent the next six hours. At 18:00, midwives told her she was not ready to give birth and sent her home with advice to take painkillers and relax. However, shortly after Ms.Bailey arrived back at the house, her contractions started to get much worse. The whole family went into action, with her mother getting the hot towels, her father, David, calling an ambulance and her brother Craig, 19, timing the contractions. A paramedic named Gary, and a neighbour who is a nurse were soon on the scene to help. Ms.Bailey, a restaurant supervisor, said:
'It all happened so quickly, it was just unbelievable. All my emotions were going -- I was crying. 'I was mortified that Alicia was born on the bathroom floor, but my legs just went to jelly and I couldn't even get to my bedroom. 'I was fully expecting the labour to be ages, because mum was hours with me, but it seemed like almost the minute the waters broke, Alicia's head appeared. 'Gary was brilliant and talked me through it, telling me what was happening all the time as he was delivering Alicia. 'I'd like to say a "big thank you" to him for everything.'
After the birth, Ms.Bailey's mother cut the cord and her grandfather was on the phone from France to hear his new granddaughter's first cries. A tired but healthy mother and baby were then taken back to hospital to be checked over by maternity staff -- and this time they were able to stay. Ms.Bailey's mother said:
'It was just such a nice family event, and it's great that we were all involved. 'We'd had takeaway pizza earlier that night -- but there was another delivery in the house.'
Asked why Ms.Bailey had been sent home from hospital when she was so close to giving birth, a spokesman for NHS Grampian said:
'Unplanned births are rare. We wouldn't discharge a mum home if we thought the birth was imminent. 'However, some deliveries do happen very quickly.'
'Go home -- your baby's not due yet', Sarah Bruce, The Scotsman, 2005-09-29, Th

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