Midwife struck off as aborted baby born alive and clung to life for 15 minutes
A midwife has been struck off over her actions after an aborted baby was born alive at an NHS hospital.
The tiny boy was born at 16 weeks and four days and clung to life for 15 minutes.
A tribunal heard all four limbs were moving but that the midwife told the parents that was just a “reflex”.
The dying foetus was wrapped in an incontinence pad, which the midwife used to swaddle the baby “because his skin was fragile and transparent”.
She was “concerned that sheets and blankets would be too rough”, the Nursing and Midwifery Council hearing was told.
The midwife said she tried to inform a senior colleague about the signs of life but claimed she was waved away twice.
The other member of staff at Medway Maritime Hospital, in Gillingham, Kent, denied any conversations had taken place.
And colleagues said they only found out that the baby had shown signs of life seven hours later, at the shift handover, when the midwife told them of what she thought were reflex actions.
The tribunal was told the foetus – aborted because of severe genetic defects – had no chance of survival at 16 weeks.
The most premature baby ever to have survived was born at 21 weeks.
A panel ruled the medic did not act dishonestly, as she genuinely believed the baby was experiencing a reflex action.
But the NMC found she should have immediately told other staff about the incident and documented what had happened, but failed to do so.
The child’s parents said they were happy with the care they received from her in April, 2015.
But the panel ruled she fell far short of standards required and said it was important the medic notified others so a death certificate could be issued and avoid any need for a postmortem.
Members of the tribunal also heard that on her next shift, within 24 hours of the first incident, the midwife failed to spot key signs that an unborn baby, later stillborn, was in distress.
The midwife, who now lives in West Sussex, was struck off after telling NMC officials the two experiences were “hellish”, that she did not plan to return to midwifery and didn’t care what they decided.
She did not attend the hearing but admitted failing to follow procedures.
Tim Mann, for the NMC, said the medic displayed “no remorse” when interviewed during an 18-month period on suspension.
Mr Mann said: “The panel concluded it was not in the public interest to impose a further period of suspension on a midwife who has totally disengaged from the regulatory process.
“The panel determined it was necessary to prevent her from practising.”
She later denied doing anything wrong and said that she was just being portrayed as the “bad guy”.
Speaking from her home, she added: “I told the truth, I wasn’t believed. I’ve nothing more to say.”
Abortions in the UK are only granted before 24 weeks apart from in exceptional circumstances.
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