Midwife accused of birth errors

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A NEW-AGE midwife hindered paramedics from resuscitating a newborn baby so she could apply olive oil to its feet, a professional conduct hearing was told yesterday.

Beatrice Carla, 55, is accused of a catalogue of errors at a home-pool birth and faces being struck off the midwives register after the infant was left with severe brain damage.

Ambulance staff told the tribunal that Miss Carla, an independent midwife who worked outside the NHS, got in the way of life-saving treatment. They claimed she even put her finger in the infant's mouth to apply a herbal remedy as they gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

But Miss Carla told the Nursing and Midwifery Council how she tried to revive the baby after it was born not breathing and with the umbilical cord around its neck. She argued there was no evidence of professional misconduct.

Yesterday, the panel ruled the most serious charges against her - relating to her hindering the paramedics' attempts to revive the baby - had not been proved.

Miss Carla, who qualified with a diploma in midwifery in January 2000, admitted nine counts of failing to keep adequate medical notes, including failing to record exactly when resuscitation began and failing to record details of chest movements during resuscitation. If found guilty of misconduct, she could be struck off the register.

She was employed by a couple identified only as Mr A and Mrs A in February 2004, to help with the birth of their baby, known as Baby A. Miss Carla said she was called to their home at 3:30am on 4 June that year, when Mrs A went into labour. After the birth, Baby A did not start breathing. and the father dialled 999.

Three paramedics described Miss Carla's medical attempts to help the baby as "inappropriate." The child was revived and taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where it was established it had suffered severe brain damage.