A couple have branded a maternity unit an “emergency response blackspot” as they emotionally told an inquiry of their daughter’s death just hours after she was born.
Nevaeh Stewart died just three-and-a-half hours after she was born at Montrose Royal Infirmary’s community midwife unit.
A fatal accident inquiry started into the tragedy at Forfar Sheriff Court today.
Her mother, Kimberly, 31, and father Gary, 30, gave evidence at the opening of the probe.
Kimberly told how she went into labour at her home in Auchenblae, Aberdeenshire, on 29 September 2012.
She went to the maternity unit in Montrose – staffed only by midwives with no doctors on hand - where she had planned to give birth in a pool having had her previous three children at the unit.
But when Nevaeh, the family’s fourth child, was born she was said to be “pale” and was immediately rushed into another room for treatment.
Kimberly was told to have a shower by midwives before a doctor entered the birthing room a short time later and asked her if she wanted to sign a do not rescuscitate order.
She said she had been given just one chance to hold Nevaeh before she was taken away by midwives.
Both she and her husband, Gary, criticised the emergency response available to mothers at community maternity units.
Kimberly said: “I think from my experience given the fact that this happened my fourth time where I’m deemed to be an old hand at the birthing thing, I don’t think you can ever determine a pregnancy is low risk.
“You never know what is going to happen. You just don’t know.”
Husband Gary, who is representing the family in the proceedings, asked Kimberly: “What should have happened when it was noticed Nevaeh was not in a normal condition?”
She replied: “I think a blue light ambulance should have been called straight away.”
Giving evidence himself as a witness, Mr Stewart, 30, said the family had later discovered that a neo-natal transfer unit can take “several hours” to arrive at midwife-led maternity units.
He said: “It seems that the NHS are of the opinion that community midwife units are emergency response blackspots.”
The inquiry continues and is expected to run for seven days between now and September.