Woman's Newborn Baby Died In Her Arms After Midwives Told Her To 'Walk To Tesco'
A woman whose newborn baby boy died in her arms was told by midwives to 'take a walk to Tesco' while in labour.
Adele Thomas, 25, has spoken out following a report that highlighted a series of failings by midwifery staff when she gave birth to her son Zak-Ezra in July 2018.
Adele was turned away from Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr Birth Centre in Ystrad Mynach three times with staff telling her she wasn't ready to give birth yet.
On her fourth attempt at being admitted, two midwives stood arguing while Zak-Ezra was trapped in the birth canal for 35 minutes, starving him of oxygen.
Following the birth the newborn was taken to a resuscitation room leaving new parents Adele and Stephen unaware if their son was alive or dead.
The baby was transferred to the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport, where he died two days later.
Adele and Stephen say it wasn't until they read the report, published early last year, that they got the full story about what happened.
The report, by Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, which manages the unit, says that when two doctors came to help they found a feeling of 'disinterest' and a 'lack of urgency' in the unit. It also found that the two midwives involved in the birth failed to monitor the Zak's heart rate, did not work together and had even had an argument before stopping resuscitation efforts early.
Adele, who lives in Caerphilly, said: "Initially being turned away by staff was really scary for me because I knew how far gone I was and how quick things were progressing.
"And when they told me to walk to Tesco, which is a fair way, to help things progress, well, I just thought that was stupid. I could barely move as it was but what choice did I have? I could hardly find another hospital by that point."
She added: "The attitude was very laid back. There was no care, I felt like I didn't matter to her.
"When Zak had been crowning for 35 minutes they said they wanted to cut me to help get him out. I remember them arguing between themselves and there didn't seem to be any rush.
"My contractions ended, but they were too late to make the cut by then so I had to use all my strength to push him out. When Zak arrived he was red in the face and completely pale from the neck down. He looked like he was made out of porcelain."
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Adele says the baby was taken from the room by 'his arms and legs' without a word from the midwives about what was going on, leaving the new parents panicked.
Adele says the details about what happened next made for shocking reading.
"The report was hard going," she said. "When the doctors got to the resuscitation room they found Zak lying on a table. The two midwives, meant to be working on him, were hugging at the back of the room.
"In the meantime we could hear ambulance sirens coming for him, but no one would tell us what was going on. We were going out of our minds with worry.
"Stephen point-blank asked them if Zak was still alive and they didn't answer."
Little Zak was taken by paramedics to the Royal Gwent's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where Stephen says the staff 'did everything they could' for the newborn.
Tragically, despite their best efforts they were unable to save him.
Stephen said: "Unfortunately, he passed away in our arms. That was the first time we actually got to hold him."
One of the midwives involved in the birth took early retirement while the second underwent further training.
Adele and Stephen, who have since had a baby girl, are now preparing themselves for the inquest into their son's death, which is set to take place early next year.
In a statement, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board said: "This matter has been fully investigated by the Health Board and failings in care were identified.
"The investigation findings have been shared openly with Zak's parents and the health board has sincerely apologised for the failings in care.
"Our condolences and deepest sympathy are with Zak's parents and family."
Last year Adele and Stephen took out a civil action case against the birthing centre which admitted to providing to inadequate care and settled with them under the Welsh Redress Scheme.
Featured Image Credit: Media Wales