Parents of dead baby hope ruling '˜reduces risk' for other families

The parents of a newborn baby whose death could have been prevented if an emergency ambulance had taken her to hospital have expressed hope that the outcome of a fatal accident inquiry will 'reduce the risk' of another family having to go through their pain.

Nevaeh Stewart died at Montrose Royal Infirmarys community midwife unit.
Nevaeh Stewart died at Montrose Royal Infirmarys community midwife unit.

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

The dedicated neonatal team that was allocated to cover the unit had been on another job in Wick at the time.

Although Nevaeh could have received treatment at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, a specialist neonatal ambulance took two hours to arrive at the unit.

At the fatal accident inquiry into her death at Forfar Sheriff Court, Sheriff Pino Di Emidio said Nevaeh had “simply languished” and received only “basic resuscitation” because NHS guidelines would not allow a normal ambulance to be sent to transfer her.

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In their first interview after the conclusion of the inquiry this month, Nevaeh’s parents, Gary and Kimberly, from Auchenblae in Aberdeenshire, said that telling her siblings their newborn sister had died was the hardest thing they had ever had to do.

Mr Stewart told the BBC: “The emotions one has when their child dies are extremely difficult to put into words.

“One of my thoughts during the days after was, ‘This isn’t the natural order of things, 
I should die before my children’.

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“Telling Nevaeh’s siblings that she had died was the hardest, most upsetting thing I have ever done. They did not deserve to have this happen to them.”

Mrs Stewart said: “It’s been extremely difficult to grieve as one normally would as this process was always in the background.

“None of this will change anything for us – we will forever be missing our beautiful Nevaeh – but hopefully it will reduce the risk of another family having to live through what we have and will do for the rest of our lives.”

In his 163-page written judgment at the end of the fatal accident inquiry, the sheriff ruled that reasonable precautions could have been taken to avoid Nevaeh’s death, including having an emergency ambulance as one of the “primary options” available to the consultant paediatrician attending to the emergency at the community midwife unit.