Fifth newborn baby dies at embattled Sydney hospital – as entire obstetrics team threatens to quit because of ‘under-resourcing’
- A pregnant mum went into labor at Blacktown Hospital on Wednesday
- Baby initially had a normal heartbeat but it was gone when doctors checked later
- It was too late to perform a caesarean and the baby was pronounced dead
- A doctor said the death ‘was avoidable’ and blamed understaffing for the loss
A mother has been left devastated after her unborn baby died at a Sydney hospital that has seen four other infants die in the last 18 months.
The woman, who was 39-weeks pregnant, was feeling unwell when she went into labour at Blacktown Hospital in Sydney’s West on Wednesday.
Her unborn child’s heartbeat was normal when she was admitted into the hospital but by mid-afternoon doctors couldn’t find its heartbeat.
It was too late to perform a caesarean and the baby in utero was pronounced dead shortly after.
A mother has been left devastated after her unborn baby died at Blacktown hospital, which has seen four other infants die there in the last 18 months
A doctor familiar with the case said they believe the death ‘was avoidable’.
‘The infant missed out on the opportunity for an emergency caesarean section. There are clear system factors involved,’ the anonymous doctor told The Australian.
‘The predominant theme is junior staff who are busy, expected to be in more than one place at one time, resulting in a delayed recognition of the severity of the situation.’
The doctor said midwives and junior medical staff were doing the best they could but under-staffing issues prevented the mother from being monitored properly.
All of the hospital’s obstetrics staff threatened to resign this week after requesting increased staffing and operating theatres for months.
The hospital executive reportedly told concerned staff they would be replaced with locum doctors if they walked out this week, angering the obstetrics department.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard (pictured) has ordered a review of Blacktown Hospital given a total of five newborns have died at the healthcare facility since mid-2019
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has ordered a review of Blacktown Hospital given a total of five newborns have died at the healthcare facility since mid-2019.
Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals general manager Ned Katritb said the baby’s death was ‘deeply distressing’ and sent his condolences to the affected family.
‘While a healthy and safe birth for a mother and infant is the goal for all labour and delivery units, sadly in some instances, this does not occur,’ Mr Katrib said in a statement issued to Daily Mail Australia.
‘All families impacted by stillbirth or a neonatal death are provided bereavement support and if a clinical incident where serious harm or death occurs it is reported to NSW Health.
‘All adverse clinical incidents are investigated in line with NSW Health incident management policy.
‘The care and safety of patients remains the top priority for all health care staff at Blacktown Hospital.’
Another baby named Nigella died at Blacktown Hospital in June. A ‘Root Cause Analysis’ into Nigella’s death found there has been no increase in staffing in the obstetrics unit despite increasing numbers of patients
The newborn’s death comes after another baby named Nigella died at Blacktown Hospital in June.
A ‘Root Cause Analysis’ into Nigella’s death found there has been no increase in staffing in the obstetrics unit despite increasing numbers of patients.
‘There is no dedicated obstetric theatre, and delayed elective caesarean sections and acute obstetric and gynaecology surgical work is often deferred until after hours,’ the investigation found, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
There have been five newborn deaths at the hospital since mid-2019, which is also when the hospital’s new maternity unit opened in August 2019.
Roughly 4,200 babies a year are delivered at Blacktown Hospital each year and another 4,900 at the nearby Westmead Hospital, which are both part of Western Sydney Local Health District.
The current infant mortality rate for Australia in 2020 is 2.957 deaths per 1,000 live births, which is a 2.47 per cent decline from 2019, according to Macrotrends.