Two hospitals in Birmingham unable to accept a mother in premature labour

Posted by Patricia Wakeford on


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I was saddened to read the story in the Birmingham Mail of a woman in premature labour who was apparently told that the first two hospitals that the ambulance tried to take her to were full.

Christina Evans was admitted to the Birmingham City Hospital after being told that both the Good Hope Hospital and Birmingham Women's Hospital were full and could not offer services for a baby born at 24 weeks. Very sadly, baby Jayden died a few hours after his birth. My condolences go to his family.

The issue here is why two large hospitals were unable to accept a woman in premature labour who needed urgent medical attention? It is difficult to know how much time was wasted whilst the paramedics were calling hospitals, but this situation should not arise.

A representative from the Birmingham City Hospital said; "On this particular evening we could not offer the neonatal intensive care cot which Jayden would have needed, as all of our 39 cots were full. The cross-city policy is for such emergencies to be referred to the unit with the specialist resources available."

Maggie Coleman, matron and site lead for maternity clinical services at Good Hope Hospital, said strict guidelines were in place to ensure women would never be refused entry to the maternity unit.

This is a very concerning situation. A woman who goes in to labour at any stage should know that there will always be a space for her and her baby at the nearest maternity unit. This raises two question: Do we need more maternity services in Birmingham and is this a wider problem?

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About the Author

Photograph of Patricia Wakeford

Patricia is a Senior Associate, in our Clinical Negligence team, and is also a qualified midwife with many years of experience working in the NHS.

Patricia Wakeford
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